Pied Cuckoos are imminent! 19

By Koshy Koshy from Faridabad, Haryana, India (Pied CuckooUploaded by snowmanradio) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsThe wonderful and enigmatic Pied Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) needs your attention. As you know, Pied Cuckoos in India come in two flavours. There is a population that is resident year-round in the south of the country. But in central and northern parts, Pied Cuckoos are seen only from just before the monsoon to early winter.

Despite eBird not containing many sightings of Pied Cuckoo (only about 240 so far), this distinction between southern residents and central/northern migrants can be clearly seen from the range maps, below. (Click on the maps to see them directly in eBird.)


To collate information on the timing of migration of the central/northern Pied Cuckoos, and in particular, to investigate how arrival dates are related to the onset of the monsoon, the MigrantWatch project has been running its Pied Cuckoo Campaign every year since 2009. Now that MigrantWatch has moved to integrate more closely with eBird, you can contribute your Pied Cuckoo sightings through either website, and they will add to our collective understanding of this superb migrant.

In eBird, do remember that one-off sightings should be uploaded as ‘Incidental’, and that if you are reporting only Pied Cuckoo (and ignoring other species), your answer to the question “Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?” should be “No“.

The announcement on the MigrantWatch website is here.

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19 thoughts on “Pied Cuckoos are imminent!

  • Harshit

    Sighted this bird in my college in Ghaziabad. Four of them in nos., early morning on 13th August, 2014. Gorgeous indeed.

    • admin

      Wonderful! Please do upload this to MigrantWatch or eBird (ebird.org) so that the sighting can be properly archived in one of the other of these databases.

  • Govind


    i have sighted this bird in hesaragatta lake (20 Kms from bangalore) this April/May and then again in july (i have pics of these, please let me know where to post them if requried)

    i sighted 3 of them near Bilikal betta (50 KMs) from Bangalore 5th aug ….

    • admin

      Thanks for this! This species is resident around Bangalore, but it is very valuable to have all possible sightings uploaded to a bird database. You could report your sightings either to MigrantWatch (www.migrantwatch.in) or eBird (www.ebird.org). Do let us know if you run into any difficulties .

  • Rainold Lazar Thekkey Edath

    The Jacobin cuckoo, pied cuckoo, or pied crested cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus)
    is found here at Sivagangai-630561 from the beginning of the monsoon i.e for the last two months. Not a huge number, but found here and there one or two birds. Thanks

    • admin

      Thank you Sir. If you can upload your sightings of this and other birds to MigrantWatch (www.migrantwatch.in) or eBird (www.ebird.org) then they will join other such observations in making a useful database of bird distribution in India.

  • Najeeb Ullah Khan

    Dear Sir,
    For the last four or five year, one strange with a very sweet whistle like voice use to come at my home regularly and stays here for few months, last year they even gave eggs in babbler bird nest and I saw on many occasion this strange bird chick was moving with the babbler bird and they were even feeding this chick.
    This year again this strange bird appear at my house with it’s sweet voice, so I thought of trying to find about this bird.
    By searching on the net, I found that this bird is Pied Crested Cuckoo.
    I have taken many pictures of pied cuckoo at my home. There was a pair at that time.
    Pied Cuckoo is still here these days, can be heard or seen daily.
    How can I post the picture.
    I am from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh

    • Bird Count India

      Thank you for writing. It would be excellent if you can upload your sightings of this and other species to eBird, which is a global bird recording platform. Doing so would ensure that your observations are open to anyone to see, and that they will be archived into the future. You can also upload photos and audio recordings. Please note that each sighting (or list of species) should be associated with the exact date of observation. Please go to ebird.org/india to create an account and upload your observations. You may also find our Beginner’s Guide to eBird useful (http://bit.ly/1eIicDK).

  • Ajay

    Have seen this rarely around paddy fields, for my region (Kerala) migrants are CRANES mainly and they come around Nov. – December time

  • Soumya Roy

    It’s mid September..time to say goodbye to monsoon ..but suddenly different type of cuckoos including Jacobin cuckoos have been emerging from different places in West Bengal.. regularly we are getting cuckoo sighting around Kolkata..I personally found 4 Jacobin cuckoos in grassland area of East Kolkata..3 adults together and a sub adult foraging with red vented bulbul.From their arrival they were quite invisible.Then what is the reason of their sudden activeness?? Another question is which migration route they use to travel to Africa??
    Soumya Roy

    • Bird Count India

      Hello Soumya, thanks for writing. Not sure why they appear to be active all of a sudden, but perhaps one sees more because of the newly fledged young that are around. Their route back to Africa is also not very well known, but at least some of the appear to fly over land, over the northern coast of the Arabian Sea and then down into Africa.

  • Soumya Roy

    Thanks for reply…I really wonder about their back migration to Africa..they are not very good flyer I think..and if I guess they come India by the help of monsoon wind, then what type of wind they use to cross this long distance to Africa ?? And how much time they take to go back ??

  • Nicky Joshi

    Nicky Joshi
    I am resident of Ahmedabad, Bopal… I am staying in Bopal area since last 10years and every year i have spotted Jacobin or Pied cuckoo here. This time too first i heard its call in end of July and today it was right on Ryan tree next to my house. Today 27th Aug 2020 i recorded its call for my birders group. Every year we keep loosing huge trees due to construction and i m scared whether it will return.