Asian emerald cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus, photographed by J. J. Harrison.

Belongs within: Cuculidae.
Contains: Cuculus.

The Cuculinae are the Old World parasitic cuckoos. These insectivorous birds are best known for their trait of laying their eggs in the nests of passerine birds, which then raise the cuckoo chicks as if they were their own. Within the Cuculinae, the bronze cuckoos of the genus Chrysococcyx are distinctive for the metallic green coloration on their upper parts.

Characters (from Mason 1997): Small to large slender birds small to stout decurved bills with swollen rounded nostrils and vestigial rictal bristles; body feathering soft, sleek, and sometimes glossed brilliantly green or blue-black, close in varied tracts but without apterium between dorsal-cervical and interscapular tracts; no downs; aftershafts absent (vestigial?); uropygial gland well developed, naked. Feet relatively weak, adapted for arboreal perching, zygodactylous with outer toe permanently reversed; tarsi rather coarsely scutellate, toes with short claws; hypotarsus with two closed canals. Sexes dimorphic or similar, males usually larger than females. Wings rounded to commonly pointed: ten primaries plus remicle and nine to twelve eutaxic secondaries moulting erratically in 'transilient' mode; alula four-feathered. Tail short to long and graduated: ten rectrices. Nares holorhinal and impervious, nasal septum imperforate; desmognathous palate with vestigial, incomplete vomer, palatines with narrowly rounded shelf, maxillary processes swollen and straight, lachrymals moderately enlarged to vestigial, sometimes almost reaching jugal bar, free from thin, variably enlarged ectethmoids, uncinate bone consistently present; basipterygoid processes vestigial; interorbital septum with two or three principal perforations; atlas notched or perforated; 14 cervical vertebrae (13 in Clamator); sternum double-notched to almost entire on either side, both spina interna and externa present (fused in Clamator) or only spina externa (Eudynamys, Scythrops), furcula with or without prolong hypocleideum; fossae flanking preacetabular processes of pelvic girdle narrow to wide, shelf of preacetabular processes square to rounded, not overlapping ischium dorsally, lateral perforations along either side of iliac crest obsolete to pronounced. Musculus expansor secundariorum 'cuculine'; pelvic muscle formula ABXY to AXY (ABEXY in Clamator), M. ambiens present; deep plantar tendons Type I. Carotid arteries paired. Syrinx tracheo-bronchial. Tongue small, cartilaginous; no crop; caeca present, rather long. Diploid karyotype of 78-80 chromosomes, with six pairs of macrochromosomes.

<==Cuculinae B94
    |--+--Scythrops Latham 1790 JT12, B94 [Scythropinae]
    |  |    `--S. novaehollandiae Latham 1790 [incl. S. novaehollandiae neglectus Mathews 1912] WS48
    |  `--+--Microdynamis parva JT12
    |     `--Eudynamys Vigors & Horsfield 1826 JT12, B94 [Eudynameinae]
    |          |--E. melanorhynchus JT12
    |          |--E. orientalis JT12
    |          `--E. scolopaceus (Linnaeus 1758) JT12, WS48 [=Cuculus scolopaceus WS48]
    |               |--E. s. scolopaceus WS48
    |               `--E. s. cyanocephala (Latham 1801) WS48 (see below for synonymy)
    `--+--‘Eudynamys’ taitensis (Sparrman 1787) JT12, WH02
       `--+--+--+--Cuculus JT12
          |  |  `--+--Surniculus Lesson 1830 JT12, B94 [Surniculinae]
          |  |     |    |--S. lugubris S89
          |  |     |    `--S. velutinus JT12
          |  |     `--Cercococcyx JT12
          |  |          |--C. mechowi JT12
          |  |          `--+--C. montanus JT12
          |  |             `--C. olivinus JT12
          |  `--+--‘Cuculus’ pallidus (Latham 1801) JT12, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
          |     `--Cacomantis JT12
          |          |  i. s.: C. bronzinus S13
          |          |         C. heinrichi JT12
          |          |         C. passerinus JT12
          |          |         C. schistaceigularis S13
          |          |         C. sepulcralis JT12
          |          |         C. simus S13
          |          |         C. threnodes S89
          |          |--+--C. castaneiventris JT12
          |          |  `--C. flabelliformis JT12
          |          `--+--C. sonneratii JT12
          |             `--+--C. merulinus JT12
          |                `--C. variolosus (Vigors & Horsfield 1827) JT12, WS48 [=Cuculus variolosus WS48]
          |                     |--C. v. variolosus J06
          |                     |--C. v. dumetorum M03
          |                     `--C. v. infaustus J06
          `--+--Rhamphomantis megarhynchus JT12
             `--Chrysococcyx Boie 1826 JT12, B94 [Chrysococcyginae]
                  |  i. s.: C. crassirostris J06
                  |         C. intermedius D66
                  |         C. malayanus J06
                  |         C. ruficollis JT12
                  |         C. rufomerus J06
                  |         C. russatus [=C. minutillus russatus] M03
                  |         C. smaragdineus D66
                  |--+--C. osculans JT12
                  |  `--+--+--C. basalis JT12
                  |     |  `--C. lucidus (Gmelin 1788) JT12, WH02 [=Cuculus lucidus WS48, Chalcites lucidus FST81]
                  |     |       |--C. l. lucidus WS48
                  |     |       |--‘Chalcites’ lucidus harterti RN72
                  |     |       |--‘Chalcites’ lucidus layardi RN72
                  |     |       `--C. l. plagosus Latham 1801 (see below for synonymy) WS48
                  |     `--+--C. meyeri JT12
                  |        `--C. minutillus Gould 1859 JT12, WS48
                  |             |--C. m. minutillus (see below for synonymy) WS48
                  |             `--C. m. barnardi M03
                  `--+--+--C. maculatus JT12
                     |  `--C. xanthorhynchus JT12
                     `--+--+--C. caprius JT12
                        |  `--C. klass JT12
                        `--+--C. cupreus JT12
                           `--C. flavigularis JT12

Chrysococcyx lucidus plagosus Latham 1801 [=Chalcites lucidus plagosus; incl. Chr. plagosus carteri Mathews 1912] WS48

Chrysococcyx minutillus minutillus
[=Chalcites malayanus minutillus; incl. Chr. minutillus perplexus Mathews 1912] WS48

‘Cuculus’ pallidus (Latham 1801) JT12, WS48 [=Columba pallida WS48; incl. Heteroscenes occidentalis Cabanis & Heine 1864 WS48]

Eudynamys scolopaceus cyanocephala (Latham 1801) WS48 [=Cuculus cyanocephalus WS48; incl. E. orientalis subcyanocephalus Mathews 1912 WS48, E. scolopacea subcyanocephala M03]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[D66] Dohrn, H. 1866. Synopsis of the birds of Ilha do Principe, with some remarks on their habits and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 324-332.

[FST81] Falla, R. A., R. B. Sibson & E. G. Turbott. 1981. Collins Guide to the Birds of New Zealand and Outlying Islands 2nd ed. with addenda. Collins: Auckland.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115-132.

Mason, I. J. 1997. Cuculidae. In: Zoological Catalogue of Australia vol. 37.2. Aves (Columbidae to Coraciidae) pp. 219-254. CSIRO Publishers.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds, 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds.) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 2. Blandford Press: London.

[S89] Salvadori, T. 1889. Viaggio di Leonardo Fea nella Birmania e nelle regioni vicine. XIX. – Uccelli raccolti nei Monti Carin a nord-est di Tounghoo, nel Pegù presso Rangoon e Tounghoo e nel Tenasserim presso Malewoon. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a 7: 369-438.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1, Heft I (F. Sarasin & J. Roux, eds) pp. 1-78, pl. 1-3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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