Common Cuckoo
Cuculus canorus

At a Glance

This is the famous bird of Europe whose voice is imitated by cuckoo clocks (and whose call, coo-coo, gave the name to the entire cuckoo family). It is well known as a brood parasite: females lay their eggs in the nests of smaller birds, and their hapless 'hosts' raise only young cuckoos. A common migratory bird across most of Europe and Asia, it regularly strays to the western Alaskan islands in late spring and early summer.
Upland Ground Birds
Low Concern
Fields, Meadows, and Grasslands, Forests and Woodlands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Tundra and Boreal Habitats
Direct Flight

Range & Identification


13-14" (32-33 cm). Large, long-winged, long-tailed; suggests a hawk in flight. Males and some females are gray, with narrow barring on belly. Some females are rusty brown with heavy black barring. Oriental Cuckoo also strays to western Alaska very rarely, is almost identical.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Crow
Wing Shape
Pointed, Tapered
Tail Shape
Long, Rounded, Wedge-shaped

Songs and Calls

Male: The famous cuck-oo of cuckoo clocks. Female: kwik-kwik-kwik.