Guira cuckoo

Guira guira

At the Zoo

You can find one Guira cuckoo in the Lion House; the other is located in the aviary next to the California Conservation Corridor.

Fascinating Facts

  • Guira cuckoos will perch and roost together, huddling together when it is cold.
  • They will defend their flocks against other flocks.
  • Like other members of the cuckoo family, they give off a strong odor.

Physical Characteristics

Male and female guira cuckoos are similar in appearance. They weigh about 5 ounces and are approximately 14 inches in length. They have a scruff appearance with brown and white feathers on their backs and tails, a white breast, and an orange feather crest. The bill is yellow-orange and the feet bluish-gray.


They feed on insects, amphibians, eggs, and chicks of smaller species.

Guira cuckoos reside in savannas, dry forests, pampas, pasture lands, and dunes from sea level up to 4,000 feet. They are found in southern Brazil, eastern Bolivia, northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Social Behavior

Guira cuckoos live in flocks of 6 – 18 birds. They have a noisy raucous call which they will use to claim territory, defend against other flocks, and court females. Courtship also involves feather displays. Nests are made of a platform of sticks and are located high up in a thorny tree. They can be reused from year to year. Eggs are incubated for 12 – 15 days and chicks fledge after another 12 – 15 days. Parental care continues for 3 weeks after fledging. Guira cuckoos participate in communal nesting in which eggs from multiple females are laid in the same nest.

Status In The Wild

IUCN – Least Concern

Animals & Exhibits