The Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is 11-13 (28-33 cm), and known as a cuckoo by the slim sinuous look, brown back, and white underparts. It is differentiated from other cuckoos by:
Generally, the bird is grayish brown above and white-below. Juvenile plumage is held well into fall. Juveniles have a paler pattern on the tail and the bill may show little or no yellow color. This species may be confused with the Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) but the Black-billed Cuckoo lacks the rufous primaries, yellow bill, undertail markings are grey and white instead of bold black and white, and has a reddish eye ring (National Geographic Society (1987).
The Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis) is differentiated from the eastern sub-species (C. a. americanus) by a larger and thicker bill, longer wings and tails, and by a slightly more gray coloration (Ridgeway 1887; Franzreb and Laymon 1993).
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is found in riparian habitat. Song sounds hollow and wooden, a rapid staccato kut-kut-kut or ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow-kow that usually slows and descends to a kakakowlp-kowlp ending (Peterson (1990).
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