Order Cuculiformes / Cuckoos, Roadrunners & Koels

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Order Cuculiformes

Order Cuculiformes is one of the most famous bird orders, as it contains parasitic bird speciescuckoos. However, there are other equally interesting species as well in this bird order.

Cuculiformes Pronunciation

The word Cuculiformes originated from New Latin (Cuculi + formes). Cuculi means cuckoo, and formes means forms.

Order Cuculiformes has only one direct family – Cuculidae, which includes bird species such as Anis, Cuckoos, Roadrunners, Koels, Malkohas, Couas, and Coucals. At the moment, there are about 141 species in this bird order.

Interesting Facts About Cuckoos

Cuckoos have played an important role in human history for thousands of years, appearing in Greek mythology as sacred to the Goddess Hera. In Europe, the cuckoo is linked with Spring. The word cuckoldry[4] in evolutionary biology was coined from Cuckoos meaning offspring that are not genetically their own. In India, cuckoos are sacred to Kamadeva[5], the God of desire and longing.

Order Cuculiformes Characteristics

Here are the main features of Cuculiformes birds:

  • Most species in this order have a bill that curves down.
  • The wings in cuckoos and their relatives are pointed.
  • The species in this order usually have long tails with graduated feathers.
  • Cuculiformes have strong legs, and the outer toe on their feet is directed backward.
  • Many species in this order are parasites: they place their eggs into the nests of birds of other species, and the hatched chicks destroy all other eggs or chicks in the nest.
  • Many of the birds in the order are very vocal (cuckoo vocalizations, for instance).

Cuculiformes Species

Here are some of the Cuculiformes species:

  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus
  • Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
  • Dwarf Cuckoo
  • Greater Ani, Crotophaga major
  • Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus
  • Squirrel Cuckoo, Piaya cayana
  • Goliath Coucal, Centropus goliath
  • Common Hawk Cuckoo
  • Black-billed Koel
  • Asian Koel, Eudynamys scolopaceus
  • Guira Cuckoo, Guira guira

Cite this article as: "Order Cuculiformes / Cuckoos, Roadrunners & Koels," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, June 7, 2019, https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-cuculiformes/.

Key References

  • [1] – “Cuculiformes – cuckoos, hoatzins, turacos | Wildlife Journal Junior”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.
  • [2] – “Cuculiformes | Definition of Cuculiformes by Merriam-Webster”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.
  • [3] – “ITIS Standard Report Page: Cuculiformes”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.
  • [4] – “Anatomy of Masculine Desire in Love’s Labor’s Lost | Shakespeare Quarterly | Oxford Academic”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.
  • [5] – “Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic: Chapter V. The Incarnations or Avatāras of Vishnu: Kamadeva”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.

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