African Cuckoo-Hawk (Aviceda cuculoides)

Birds of PreyThe Sport of Falconry


The African Cuckoo-Hawks (Aviceda cuculoides) – also known as African Cuckoo Falcons – are found in sub-Saharan Africa and along the eastern parts of Southern Africa. This species is mainly resident, but a partial-migrant in the east and south.

They favor dense woodland and forest areas.


Subspecies and Ranges:

Aviceda cuculoides cuculoides -nominate species:

Senegal south to Nigeria and northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

Aviceda cuculoides batesi:

Sierra Leone east to Uganda, an south to northern Angola

Aviceda cuculoides verreauxii

Ethiopia, Kenya, southern Angola south to northern Nambia, through eastern coastal countries to South Africa

Aviceda cuculoides emini – considered invalid by most authorities


African Cuckoo-Hawk (Aviceda cuculoides)


This mostly solitary and skulking bird averages 40 cm in length.

It is often seen flying between trees in short glides with wings held high, swooping up at end of glide and perching.


Diet / Feeding

Their primary diet consists of insects, particularly grasshoppers. However, they may also take small snakes and lizards, as well as birds and rodents.

They are usually hunting in grass and low vegetation.


Nesting / Breeding

The breeding season commences in September and goes on until February.

Both male and female participate in building the nest – which is a platform made of leafy twigs. It is situated in the upper foliage of a tall tree, about 10–25 m above ground.

The average clutch consists of 2, rarely 3, chalky-white eggs with reddish-brown blotches.

The eggs are incubated by either the male or the female for about 32 – 33 days.

The chicks are raised by both parents and leave the nest when they are about one month old.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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