Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo

Scientific Name: Hierococcyx nisicolor

Malay Name: Sewah-Tekukur Cina Selatan

Chinese Name: 棕腹鹰鹃

Range: Found from Bhutan to northeast India, southern China and Indochina with the northern populations wintering south to Southeast Asia except Philippines.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 27-31 cm

Identification: Adult has greyish upperparts, whitish underparts with rufous-washed breast and narrowest penultimate dark tail-band. Juvenile resembles adult but has brownish and obvious rufous-tinged upperparts and breast streaks. Told from similar Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo by narrower penultimate tail band (Malaysian shows even-width tail bands).

Similar looking species: Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo

Habitat: Forest, forest edge, wooded areas, gardens and parks.


Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Central Catchment Forest, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, former Bidadari Cemetery, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Pasir Ris Park and Tuas South.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Dec 24-Dec 30
Early date 04 Oct 1996
Late date 15 May 2021
A fairly easy bird to twitch these days, as it tends to spend a while at one location before moving on. Like other cuckoos, often seen at trees with caterpillar infestations.


BirdLife International. (2016). Hierococcyx nisicolor. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22734046A95072929.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Yong, D. L. (2008). Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo: A Birder’s Nightmare. Singapore Avifauna, 22(1), 12–17.

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