The Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is a medium-sized bird found throughout much of North and Central America. It is approximately 11 inches in length and weighs between 1.5 and 2.6 ounces. The bird is identified by its long, sleek body and long, narrow tail. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo has a distinct yellow bill that stands out against its gray-brown body.
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is an elusive bird and can be difficult to spot. It is often found near wooded areas, particularly near streams or rivers. During breeding season, it is primarily found in the eastern United States, from the Great Lakes region down to Florida. It winters in Central and South America, making a migration of up to 4,000 miles each way.
During migration, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo will travel at night and rest during the day. Its migration pattern takes it from the breeding grounds in the eastern United States to its wintering grounds in Central and South America, crossing the Gulf of Mexico along the way. The bird is considered a neotropical migrant, meaning it spends part of its life in North America and part of its life in the neotropics.
In addition to its distinctive appearance and migration patterns, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo is known for its unique call. The bird’s song consists of a series of low-pitched, guttural notes that sound like “cow, cow, cow.” This call is often heard during breeding season and can be used to identify the bird’s location.
Unfortunately, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo has faced declines in population due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Conservation efforts have been put in place to protect the bird’s habitat and increase its numbers. As a result, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo is considered a species of special concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.