Fun Large Hawk-cuckoo Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Oct 20, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Read more amazing large hawk-cuckoo facts here.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.3 Min

The large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) is cuckoo species of the family Cuculidae. This cuckoo can be recognized by the bird's loud call, and the breeding habitat distribution of this species is also huge.

Also, like all other cuckoo birds, this bird is a brood parasite. Cuckoos of the genus Hierococcyx are named hawk-cuckoo for their similar features to hawks. Hierococcyx is sometimes considered a part of the Cuculus genus.

The dark hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx bocki) was considered a subspecies of large hawk-cuckoo as H. s. bocki. There are around eight species included in Hierococcyx.

Large hawk-cuckoos are brown-gray colored with a rufous breast-patch. William Elford Leach, an English zoologist, introduced the family Cuculidae in 1820 in a guide to elements of the British Museum. The evolutionary history of cuckoos is still unclear due to very little record of their fossils.

There are over 150 species of cuckoos in 33 genera in this family. Most of these species are insectivores.

If you find these large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) facts interesting, then you should check out our articles about the cockatoo and rook on Kidadl.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a large hawk-cuckoo?

The large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) is a hawk-cuckoo of the order Cuculiformes and phylum Chordata. This bird is known for its repetitive calls identical to large common hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx various or Cuculus varius) calling.

However, the Hierococcyx sparverioides call note does not rise into a crescendo and this can be used for identification. This adult bird species is a brood parasite of two species, laughing-thrushes and babblers. Adult large hawk-cuckoo migration involves wintering south of east Asia.

What class of animal does a large hawk-cuckoo belong to?

The large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) belongs to the class of Aves animals.

How many large hawk-cuckoos are there in the world?

The population distribution of large hawk-cuckoos (Hierococcyx sparverioides) in the world is not known.

Where does a large hawk-cuckoo live?

The large hawk-cuckoo range map of habitat extends from temperate South-east Asia through to the Himalayas and to Southeast Asia. These birds migrate for the winter to forests further south of these regions.

This bird also migrates to the Christmas Islands. Hierococcyx sparverioides birds occupy India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, China, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Hierococcyx sparverioides bocki or dark hawk-cuckoo birds occupying Borneo, Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra, are considered a subspecies of this bird.

What is a large hawk-cuckoo's habitat?

The large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) mostly occupies a range with open forests. Hierococcyx sparverioides birds are found in tropical or subtropical forest and temperate forest. These birds are more common at a higher elevation whereas common hawk-cuckoos occupy lower elevations.

Who do large hawk-cuckoos live with?

Hierococcyx sparverioides birds can be seen in flocks and pairs.

How long does a large hawk-cuckoo live?

The data on the lifespan of this adult bird species is not available.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these birds is in summer around March. Their relatives, the common hawk-cuckoo, breeding season takes place from March to June.

This species are brood parasites and a large hawk-cuckoo female lays her eggs in several host's nest. Some hosts are spiderhunter, laughing thrush, bulbul, babbler, and shrike species. Laughing thrushes and babblers can detect large hawk-cuckoo eggs and remove them.

However, this may not happen every time and the foster parents may feed the juvenile. Juvenile non-parasitic cuckoo species fledge the nest before flying and New World cuckoo birds have the shortest incubation period.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) is evaluated as Least Concern.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo Fun Facts

What do large hawk-cuckoos look like?

These birds have a similar appearance to the Malaysian hawk-cuckoo and Hodgson's hawk cuckoo bird species. However, large hawk-cuckoo birds are larger than these birds with brown-gray upperparts, slaty-gray heads, rufous breast-patch, and the underparts are white with dark bars.

They have broad dark tail-bands on their long tail.

Juvenile birds are similar to adults but the dark brown upperparts have rufous bars, their pale rufous nape has dark brown streaks, and there are dark brown drop-like streaks on their breast with the rest of the underparts being white.

The identification of the adult species or subspecies of these bird species, H. s. bocki, is easy as they are darker with black feathers than large hawk-cuckoos. The large hawk-cuckoo appearance can be distinguished from the common hawk-cuckoo bird species by the black patch located on their chin.

The large hawk-cuckoo bird species is silent during winter months.

How cute are they?

This bird species is brown with a rufous breast, a small head, and a long tail. These birds may be considered cute, especially if you hear its distinct cuckoo note.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate using calls and body language. Their call is repetitive and loud without rising into a crescendo.

How big is a large hawk-cuckoo?

These birds are 15.7 in (39.8 cm) in length. These birds are slightly bigger than the yellow-billed cuckoo and almost twice the size of the common nighthawk.

How fast can a large hawk-cuckoo fly?

The data on the flight speed of a juvenile and an adult hawk-cuckoo is not available. These birds have a strong and direct flight.

How much does a large hawk-cuckoo weigh?

This species is 0.25-0.28 lb (113.3-127 g) in weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to large hawk-cuckoo male and female birds.

What would you call a baby large hawk-cuckoo?

There is no specific name given to a large hawk-cuckoo baby bird.

What do they eat?

The diet of these birds is omnivorous but mainly insectivorous. They feed on larger insects particularly caterpillars.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous to human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

No, this bird species would not make good pets. They thrive in forest areas.

Did you know...

The Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo, also the called whistling hawk-cuckoo, occupies habitats in Myanmar, north-eastern India, Southeast Asia, and southern China.

There are around three New World species that are pavonine, striped, and pheasant cuckoos, and around 56 Old World species that are brood parasites.

The flight of the common hawk-cuckoo is similar to that of a sparrowhawk and they tend to shake their tail from side to side when they land on a perch.

Why does a hawk-cuckoo cry in the rain?

The hawk-cuckoo is known to have repetitive calls or notes in the breeding season. This large hawk-cuckoo call especially of common hawk-cuckoo, a resident of the Indian subcontinent, is interpreted as brain fever.

This Indian hawk-cuckoo (Cuculus varius) has loud and shrill repetitive cry calls. These birds are called brain-fever birds. However, there is no information on why hawk-cuckoos cry in the rain.

Are large hawk-cuckoos endangered?

No, these hawk-cuckoos are not endangered. However, their relatives, moustached hawk-cuckoos, are listed as Near Threatened.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these white hawk facts and black cuckoo facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable large hawk cuckoo coloring pages.

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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