Common Cuckoo
Sounds & Calls

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Photo credit: Edwin Godinho /

The Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is a large species of cuckoo which is a spring/summer migrant to Europe and Asia. Its winter distribution covers much of the African continent. Common Cuckoos are found in a variety of habitats including woodland, heathland, farmland and marshes. One of the parasitic cuckoos, the Common Cuckoo lays its eggs in nests of other birds which then raise the young cuckoos.

What does a cuckoo sound like? The song of the Common Cuckoo is one of Europe’s most familiar bird sounds. No doubt this sound has been made even more famous by it’s imitation in the traditional ‘cuckoo clocks’ which are thought to date back to as early as the mid 1600s.

After migrating north to their spring breeding grounds, male cuckoos sing persistently with repetitive, two note ‘cuck-oo’ phrases . Males often give their song from an exposed perch. Some other calls are also made, including the females bubbling “kwik-kwik-kwik!” call.

Listen to Common Cuckoo Sounds

The audio in the video below features a number of calls from at least two Common Cuckoos. The female’s bubbling “kwik-kwik-kwik!” call can be heard t 3:17. Recorded in Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla in Andalucia, Spain.

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