Beautiful 12 Species of Cuckoo Found in India

Koel or Cuckoo birds are the member of cuckoos family which also includes malkoha, koel and coucal. Cuckoos are very popular birds of Indian culture, are sacred to Kamadeva and different species known by different names in Sanskrit by poet like Kokila, Papeeha, Chakor and Chatak.

Asian Koel/ कोयल


Asian Koel or Indian koyal is a most beautiful member of cuckoo family of birds, found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.


The black beauty is also a widely used symbol in Indian poetry, known as Kokila in Sanskrit and are very vocal in March to June during the breeding season in the Indian Subcontinent.


Indian Cuckoo/ कुकू


Indian cuckoo is a solitary bird widely distributed from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia. The medium-sized cuckoo bird is also brood parasite, Some populations migrate south in winter from India.

Common Cuckoo

Common cuckoo species migrant to Europe and Asia during summer, breeds from northern India to Asia. During the winter season, Common Cuckoo found in Assam, Bengal and north east states of India.

Common hawk-Cuckoo/ पपीहा


Common hawk cuckoo or brainfever bird is a resident of the Indian subcontinent, can be confused with the large hawk-cuckoo. During the months before monsoon in the breeding season, males common hawk-cuckoo produce loud sound like Pee kahan hence also known
as Papeeha in Sanskrit.

Common hawk-cuckoo and all other species of cuckoo are brood parasites, Mostly laying their eggs in nests of babblers.

Jacobin Cuckoo/ चातक


The Jacobin cuckoo known as pied cuckoo or crested cuckoo, also known as the Chataka in Sanskrit and partially migratory in India. This species of cuckoo with a crest is very beautiful and called as Meghadoota by poet Kalidasa and harbinger of monsoon.

Large hawk-Cuckoo

The large hawk-cuckoo bird breeds along the Himalayas in India and looks similar to the common hawk-cuckoo. Like other species of cuckoo birds, this species is also a brood parasite, brood parasites of babblers.

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo


Chestnut-winged cuckoo with glossy upper parts is another most beautiful species of cuckoo bird found in India,breed along the Himalayas to Southeast Asia. In India, This species is also moves along the Eastern Ghats, appear in the Western Ghats during winter.

Himalayan Cuckoo

Himalayan cuckoo bird breeds in the Indian Himalayas and migrates to southeast Asia. This species of cuckoo has three known subspecies found in most of Asia like Oriental cuckoo and Sunda cuckoo.

Grey-bellied Cuckoo/Indian Plaintive Cuckoo


Plaintive cuckoo is native to Asia, fairly small in size as compare to other species of cuckoo and often difficult to see. The grey-brown bird feeds on invertebrates, laying its eggs in the nests of other birds including prinias and tailorbirds.

Banded bay Cuckoo

Banded bay cuckoo bird is a small cuckoo species of India, Found mostly in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The bay cuckoo are partially migratory and mostly found in well-wooded forest mainly during the monsoon.

Sirkeer Malkoha/ महोखा


Malkoha species of birds are also part of the cuckoo family,found in the forests of peninsular India. Blue-faced malkoha, Green-billed malkoha and sirkeer malkoha or sirkeer cuckoo are three species of malkoha cuckoo found throughout Indian Subcontinent. Photo Credit – by IFS Parveen Kashwan.


Greater Coucal/ चकोर


Greater coucal is known as Chakor in Sanskrit, also known as Bharadwaj in some part of India and species of coucal found in India includes lesser coucal,Greater coucal and Andaman coucal. Coucals are also cuckoo birds from the same family and a resident of the Indian Subcontinent along with other species of cuckoos.

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