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Lesser Cuckoo Cuculus poliocephalus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 2,340,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 2,340,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals Unknown not applicable Not Applicable 0
Population trend Stable -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7 - - -
Population justification: The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be fairly common in several parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997), while national population estimates include: c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in China; < c.100 breeding pairs and < c.50 individuals on migration in Taiwan; < c.100 breeding pairs and < c.50 individuals on migration in Korea; c.100-100,000 breeding pairs and c.50-10,000 individuals on migration in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Unknown Extant        
Bangladesh Vagrant Extant        
Bhutan Native Extant Yes      
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Hong Kong (China) Vagrant Extant        
India Native Extant        
Japan Native Extant        
Kenya Native Extant        
Laos Vagrant Extant        
Malawi Native Extant        
Myanmar Native Extant        
Nepal Native Extant        
North Korea Native Extant Yes      
Pakistan Native Extant        
Russia (Asian) Native Extant        
Seychelles Vagrant Extant        
Somalia Vagrant Extant        
South Africa Vagrant Extant        
South Korea Native Extant Yes      
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
Tanzania Native Extant        
Thailand Vagrant Extant        
Vietnam Native Extant        
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Native Extant        

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major non-breeding
Forest Temperate suitable breeding
Forest Temperate suitable non-breeding
Savanna Dry major non-breeding
Altitude 1500 - 3660 m Occasional altitudinal limits (min) 1200 m

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cuculus poliocephalus. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Least Concern
Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Species name author Latham, 1790
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,340,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change