The African cuckoo occupies huge areas of
sub-Saharan Africa, absent from parts of the DRC, Somalia, South Africa and
Namibia. It usually occurs in open woodland and Acacia savanna, mostly
eating caterpillars. It exclusively parasitizes
Fork-tailed drongos: the male
distracts them whilst the female flies in to the nest, removes any existing eggs
before laying one of its own. Soon after hatching, the chick removes any
existing Drongo eggs or chicks in the nest, remaining in the nest for about 23
days before leaving.
Distribution and habitat
Occurs across sub-Saharan
Africa, absent only from parts of the DRC and Somalia. In southern Africa it is
fairly common in northern and central Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
and north-eastern South Africa. It is shy and unobtrusive, generally preferring open woodland and Acacia
savanna, avoiding evergreen forest.
migrant, arriving in southern Africa around August-September, going through its
full breeding cycle before departing around March-April.
Its diet is almost exclusively made up of
caterpillars, foraging amongst the foliage of trees and shrubs, occasionally
flying to the ground to pick up a prey item. The following food items have been recorded in its diet: