Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but is thought to be large as the species is described as 'common and widespread' in at least parts of its range (Payne 2005).

Trend justification
Remote sensing data on tree cover loss indicate that approximately 13% of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover was lost from the species's non-breeding range, and approximately 5% from the breeding range, over the past three generations (11 years; Global Forest Watch 2021). These figures may underestimate the true rate of forest loss, especially in the non-breeding range, as the tree cover data may include plantations. However, the species has has been recorded in some types of plantation and in gardens during the non-breeding season (Payne and Kirwan 2020). The species's population size is therefore suspected to be declining at a rate of less than 20% over three generations.

Distribution and population

This species is widespread, breeding in the Himalayas from northern Pakistan through Nepal and northern India and Bhutan to Myanmar and northwest Thailand and into China as far as northeast Hebei and Hainan (Payne 2005, Xia et al. 2016). Birds migrate through South-East Asia and winter in the Malay peninsula, Indonesia and the Philippines.


The species lives in a range of forest types (Payne 2005). In the breeding season it is found in the canopy of coniferous or deciduous forest, larch taiga, thickets, subtropical woodland near streams, open wooded areas and orchards (Payne and Kirwan 2020). In the non-breeding range, it occurs in primary and secondary forest, savannas, teak plantations, tea plantations and gardens.


Forest loss in its breeding and non-breeding range are suspected to be causing declines (Global Forest Watch 2021).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Species has a vast range and occurs in numerous protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed  



Text account compilers
Wheatley, H.

Bird, J. & Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Cuculus saturatus. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022.