Cuckoos, anis, roadrunners, turacos and their relatives cuculiformes

The order Cuculiformes traditionally includes around 170 bird species that belong to three different bird families:

  • Cuculidae - Cuckoos, Coucals, Koels, Malkohas, Couas, Roadrunners and Anis (New World cuckoos)
  • Musophagidae - Turacos and Allies - Controversial classification. This family may be separated in its own order sometimes in the future based on distinct differences.
  • Opisthocomidae - Hoatzins (or Opisthocomiformes) - Controversial classification. This family may be separated in its own order sometimes in the future based on distinct differences.

The members of this bird order occur in all parts of the world, but most species are found in South America, Africa, Australia and Asia. These birds have down-curved bills, pointed wings, long tails and strong legs. Their plumages are usually black, brown or grey. Most feed on insects and their larvae.

Cuckoos are medium-sized, slender-bodied birds that are known for laying their eggs into the nests of other birds (Brood parasitism).

The black-plumaged Anis inhabit the southernmost stretches of Texas, Mexico, Central America and South America. Unlike other cuckoos, they are not brood parasites.

The South American Hoatzins inhabit swamps, mangroves and wetlands in the Amazon and Orinoco River basins.