email a friend
printable version
Moustached Hawk-cuckoo Hierococcyx vagans
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This forest-associated species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to have experienced a moderately rapid decline owing to the extensive loss of lowland forests from large areas of the Sundaic lowlands. It is not considered more threatened because it can use secondary habitats and occurs in mid-elevation forest.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Hierococcyx vagans (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Cuculus.

Cuculus vagans Müller, 1845

Distribution and population
Cuculus vagans is confined to the Sundaic lowlands, from south Tenasserim, Myanmar, peninsular Thailand, south Laos, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Kalimantan, Sumatra and, occasionally, west Java, Indonesia, where it is generally uncommon (BirdLife International 2001). It is thought to be in decline owing to the extensive loss of lowland forest within its range.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon in Thailand and rare in Sumatra and Borneo (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
Forest destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia, and in Thailand and Malaysia has been extensive, but the species is tolerant of secondary habitats and occurs in mid-altitude forest so is thought to have avoided more than a moderately rapid decline.

It occurs in evergreen forest, forest edge and secondary forest; especially lower hill slopes, alluvial forest and bamboo forest up to 915 m. It is a brood parasite.

Rates of forest loss in the Sundaic lowlands have been extremely rapid (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998).

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect areas of lowland forest within the species's range. Enforce restrictions on agricultural encroachment and logging within such protected areas. Estimate population trends by calculating rates of forest loss within its range using satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Hierococcyx vagans. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Species name author Müller, 1845
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 952,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species