Violet Cuckoo

Scientific Name: Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus

Malay Name: Sewah-Zamrud Ungu

Chinese Name: 紫金鹃

Range: Found from the Indian subcontinent to southern China and Southeast Asia

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: xanthorhynchus, amethystinus.

Local Subspecies: xanthorhynchus

Size: 16.5-17 cm

Identification: Male has glossy violet-purple head, upper breast and upperparts, white lower breast to vent with dark bars and bright orange bill with red base. Female resembles Bronze Cuckoo and female Asian Emerald Cuckoo but has reddish-bronze (with slight greenish-tinge) forehead, crown, nape and upperparts and red-based yellowish bill. Juvenile resembles female but has a more rufous-chestnut crown.

Similar looking species: Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo, Little Bronze Cuckoo

Habitat: Forest, forest edge, parks and gardens.

Behaviour/Ecology: Frequents canopy on crowns of tall trees. A known brood parasite of the Brown-throated Sunbird and Little Spiderhunter.

Local Status: Uncommon resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2018)

Location: Central Catchment Forest, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Jurong Eco Garden, Pasir Ris Park, Neo Tiew Lane 2 and Pulau Ubin.

Featured articles:


BirdLife International. (2018). Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

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

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