Striped cuckoos occupy tropical habitats, which commonly include grasslands and scrub forests from sea level to 1400 m in elevation. These birds are usually found near the edge of forests, in areas with scattered shrubs and trees. Less commonly they are round in tropical bogs. ("Tapera naevia", 2006; Johnsgard, 1997; Smith and Smith, 2000)
- Range elevation
- 0 to 1400 m
- 0.00 to 4593.18 ft
Striped cuckoos are average sized cuckoos, with an average mass of 55 g, and approximately 30 cm in length. Average wingspan of males is 112.4 mm (range from 108 to 117.5 mm), and of females is 108.2 mm (raange from 104 to 112 mm). Striped cuckoos have relatively long tails, averaging 157.7 mm in males and 146.2 mm in females. (Johnsgard, 1997)
At hatching striped cuckoos are featherless, with pink skin and a yellow-orange gape. Feathers are grown after approximately ten days. Immature striped cuckoos are characterized by a black head, black markings on the neck, wavy black markings on the underside, and yellow spots on the feathers of the upper body. Adults are overall brown in color, and are distinguished by a shaggy crest and black streaks along the back. The feathers of the adult's long tail are gray-brown and white tipped. The adult also has abnormally large, dark alulas feathers (the alulas is a joint in the middle of the bird's wing), giving it the common name "four-winged cuckoo." Adult females and males are nearly identical in appearance. (Johnsgard, 1997; Stiles and Skutch, 1989)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- male larger
- Average mass
- 55 g
- 1.94 oz
- Average length
- 30 cm
- 11.81 in
- Range wingspan
- 99 to 112 mm
- 3.90 to 4.41 in
- Average wingspan
- 108 mm
- 4.25 in
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Striped cuckoos are brood parasites; adult females lay their eggs in the nest of another bird species. They lay their eggs just after dawn, and usually choose host species with covered or dome shaped nests. The host species is "tricked" into caring extensively for young that are not its own. Striped cuckoos have more than 20 documented host species. They are obligate brood parasites, they do not build nests or incubate eggs. After hatching, young (Johnsgard, 1997; Stiles and Skutch, 1989)nestlings remain in the nest for approximately 18 to 20 days, after which they fledge.
- Key Reproductive Features
- year-round breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- The striped cuckoo breeding interval is not known.
- Breeding season
- Striped cuckoos may breed throughout much of the year, from January through October.
- Average time to hatching
- 15 days
- Range fledging age
- 18 to 20 days
Striped cuckoos are brood parasites; there is no post-egg laying parental investment. (Johnsgard, 1997)
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
There is little available information regarding the lifespan striped cuckoos and other cuckoos.
When frightened or disturbed, striped cuckoos will flash their alulas. (Stiles and Skutch, 1989)
There is little available information regarding the home range ofor other cuckoo species.
Communication and Perception
Striped cuckoos have three distinct song types. Each song type is used to communicate with neighbors, mates, and intruders. Furthermore, each song type is used to communicate its "readiness to interact" to its neighbor, mate, or intruder. One song is bisyllabic; the second syllable has a higher pitch and is accented. Another song consists of five to six syllables; the last syllable has a lower pitch that the first four to five. A third song consists of four short syllables; again, the last syllable has a lower pitch, and is much shorter, than the first three. Songs are whistled, and repeated for minutes at five to ten second increments. During a song, striped cuckoos raise and lower their crest, and may lower their wings. Songs are occasionally sung in duets (commonly by mating birds), and striped cuckoos will respond to birds that imitate their songs. (Peterson and Chalif, 1973; Smith and Smith, 2000)
- Other Communication Modes
There is little available information regarding the food habits of striped cuckoos. They eat insects (Insecta), mostly grasshoppers (Orthoptera). Other cuckoo species are omnivores, also eating insects, in addition to spiders (Araneae), fruits, seeds, and even small vertebrates. (Leahy, 2004; Peterson and Chalif, 1973; Stiles and Skutch, 1989)
- Animal Foods
There is little available information regarding predation on striped cuckoos. When striped cuckoos are frightened or disturbed, they will flash their alulas. (Stiles and Skutch, 1989)
Striped cuckoos are interspecific brood parasites with over 20 host species, listed below. The first 17 listed are well-documented hosts while the last four are probable or minor hosts. (Johnsgard, 1997)
Striped cuckoo parasitism is believed to have a negative effect on both the nests and fecundity of host species. In other cuckoo species, the young cuckoo will remove the eggs of the host from the nest or kill the host's young, forcing the host to devote its attention solely to the young cuckoo. (Ehrlich, et al., 1988; Johnsgard, 1997)
- Ecosystem Impact
- stripe-breasted spinetail (Synallaxis cinnamomea)
- Spix's spinetail (Synallaxis spixi)
- plain-crowned spinetail (Synallaxis gujanensis)
- pale-breasted spinetail (Synallaxis albescens)
- yellow-chinned spinetail (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)
- sooty-fronted spinetail (Synallaxis frontalis)
- Chotoy spinetail (Schoeniophylax phryganophilus)
- Azara's spinetail (Synallaxis azarae)
- rufous-breasted spinetail (Synallaxis erythrothorax)
- common thornbird (Phacellodomus rufifrons)
- tody-tyrants (Hemitriccus)
- red-eyed thornbird (Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus)
- greater thornbird (Phacellodomus ruber)
- white-headed marsh tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala)
- rufous-and-white wren (Thryothorus rufalbus)
- buff-browed foliage gleaner (Syndactyla rufosuperciliata)
- black-striped sparrow (Arremonops conirostris)
- tody-flycatchers (Todirostrum)
- cinclodes (Cinclodes)
- earthcreepers (Eremobius)
- horneros (Furnarius)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are no known positive effects of Tapera naevia on humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse affects of Tapera naevia on humans.
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Lauren Kroll (author), Kalamazoo College, Ann Fraser (editor, instructor), Kalamazoo College.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
a wetland area rich in accumulated plant material and with acidic soils surrounding a body of open water. Bogs have a flora dominated by sedges, heaths, and sphagnum.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
to jointly display, usually with sounds in a highly coordinated fashion, at the same time as one other individual of the same species, often a mate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
an organism that obtains nutrients from other organisms in a harmful way that doesn't cause immediate death
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
- scrub forest
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
- tropical savanna and grassland
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
- temperate grassland
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
- year-round breeding
breeding takes place throughout the year
2006. "Tapera naevia" (On-line). 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed October 15, 2006 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/47894/all.
Barrett, N., C. Bernstein, R. Brown, J. Connor, K. Dunham, P. Dunne, J. Farrand, Jr., D. Hopes, K. Kaufman, N. Lavers, M. Leister, R. Marsi, W. Petersen, J. Pierson, A. Pistorius, J. Toups. 1997. Book of North American Birds. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, D. Wheye. 1988. The Birder's Handbook A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds. Simon & Schuster, Inc..
Johnsgard, P. 1997. The Avian Brood Parasites Deception at the Nest. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc..
Land, H. 1970. Birds of Guatemala. Wynnewood, Pennsylvania: Livingston Publishing Company.
Leahy, C. 2004. The Birdwatcher's Companion to North American Birdlife. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Peterson, R., E. Chalif. 1973. A Field Guide to Mexican Birds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Smith, W., A. Smith. 2000. Information About Behavior is Provided by Songs of the Striped Cuckoo. The Wilson Bulletin, 112/4: 491-497. Accessed October 15, 2006 at http://0-www.bioone.org.ariadne.kzoo.edu/perlserv/?request=get-document&issn=0043-5643&volume=112&issue=04&page=0491.
Stiles, F., A. Skutch. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.