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The Black cuckoo is common and widespread,
occurring throughout sub-Saharan Africa, preferring relatively thick forest and
Acacia woodland. Its diet consists mostly of insects, especially
caterpillars, but it also eats the eggs and sometimes chicks of its host. It
almost exclusively parasitizes shrikes and boubous, especially of the
Laniarius genus. It lays eggs in "clutches"
of 4, one laid every 2 days. In total, the female can lay around 22 eggs in one
breeding season. A few days after hatching, the chick removes any existing eggs
in the host's nest. It stays in the nest for about 20-21 days, becoming fully
independent at around 39-64 days old.
Distribution and habitat
Common and widespread, occurring throughout sub-Saharan
Africa. In southern Africa it occupies large areas of northern and central
Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and northern and eastern South Africa. It is unobtrusive,
often perching in the upper areas of the tree canopy, singing its monotonous and
highly repetitive call. It generally prefers evergreen forest, miombo woodland,
Acacia thicket, valley bushveld and trees surrounding settlements.
It is a brood parasite, meaning that it lays its eggs
in other birds nests. The host, thinking that the egg is its own, incubates
the egg and cares for the chick. The following bird species have been
recorded as hosts of the Black
Egg-laying season peaks
from November-December in most areas except Namibia, where it peaks
female removes any existing eggs in the host's nest before laying one of her
own. It lays eggs in
clutches of four, one laid every two days. In total, the female typically
22 eggs in one breeding season.
The chick removes any existing eggs in the host's nest
a few days after hatching. It stays in the nest
for about 20-21 days, becoming fully independent at 39-64 days old.