- 10.2–11.8 in
- 15–16.9 in
- 1.9–2.3 oz
- Coulicou à bec jaune (French)
- Cuclillo pico amarillo, Platero piquiamarillo (Spanish)
- Like the Black-billed Cuckoo, the young Yellow-billed Cuckoo develops incredibly quickly. The entire period from egg laying to fledgling leaving the nest lasts only 17 days. On day six or seven after hatching, the feathers of the young burst out of their sheaths, allowing the nestling to become fully feathered in two hours.
- Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs, and brood the nestlings. They incubate and brood equally during the day, but the male takes the night shift. The male brings nest material every time he comes to the nest to take his turn. The female usually takes the offering and works it into the nest.
- Although the Yellow-billed Cuckoo usually raises its own young, occasionally it will lay its egg in the nest of another cuckoo, or even that of a different species. It has laid eggs in the nest of at least 11 different birds, most commonly in the nest of the Black-billed Cuckoo, American Robin, Gray Catbird, or Wood Thrush. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo may itself be the inadvertent host for an egg of a Black-billed Cuckoo or Brown-headed Cowbird.
Open woodlands with clearings and dense scrubby vegetation, often along water.
Large insects, caterpillars, some fruits and seeds.
- Clutch Size
- 1–5 eggs
- Egg Description
- Bluish green, unmarked.
- Condition at Hatching
- Altricial, but alert and active within minutes of hatching. Shiny black skin, no down.
Flimsy shallow platform of twigs, lined sparingly with dried leaves or strips of bark. Placed on branch of small tree or large shrub.
Waits motionless for long periods, watching for prey to move. Makes running, hopping dashes to catch prey. Works caterpillar back and forth through its bill before swallowing, possibly to aid in removing hairs.
Common in southeastern United States, but populations declining throughout range. Rare in West and declining. Gone from some areas. Listed as endangered in California where development is disrupting the riparian woodlands in which it lives.