Adults have a long tail, brown above and black-and-white below, and a black curved bill with yellow especially on the lower mandible. The head and upper parts are brown and the underparts are white. There is a yellow ring around the eye. It shows cinnamon on the wings in flight. Juveniles are similar, but the black on the undertail is replaced by grey.

Habitat and Distribution

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo 's breeding habitat is deciduous woods from southern Canada to Mexico. They migrate to Central America and as far south as northern Argentina. This bird is a rare vagrant to western Europe.


These birds forage in dense shrubs and trees, also may catch insects in flight. They mainly eat insects, especially tent caterpillars and cicadas, but also some lizards, eggs of other birds and berries.


Yellow-billed Sapsuckers nest in a tree or shrub, usually (1 to 4 meters) above the ground. The nest is a flimsy platform of short twigs placed on a horizontal branch. Three to four eggs are incubated for 14 days or less. The chicks are able to climb about with agility at 7 to 9 days of age. Sometimes these birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds.

Calls and Songs

Their most common call is a rapid ka ka ka ka ka kow kow kow.