IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th January, 2023 Environment

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Context: For the last four years, a widely-held view among birders is that the Nanmangalam reserve forest is a favourite pit stop for the chestnut-winged cuckoo, a passage migrant for Chennai.



  • The chestnut-winged cuckoo (Clamator coromandus) belongs to the family of cuckoos, Cuculidae.
  • These cuckoo species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southeast China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Andaman Islands (India), Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.
  • They are monotypic species. The chestnut-winged cuckoo species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds.

Taxonomy of Chestnut-winged cuckoo:

  • Scientific Name: Clamator coromandus
  • Common Name: Chestnut-winged cuckoo
  • Family: Cuculidae › Cuculiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • The chestnut-winged cuckoo was earlier included in the genus Cuculus.

Description and identification:

  • The chestnut-winged cuckoo is a small bird, measuring 35 to 45 cm in length and weighing 60 to 90 grams.
  • The plumage is metallic glossy black.

Ecosystem and habitat:

The chestnut-winged cuckoo ecosystem includes tropical and temperate deciduous/evergreen forests. They inhabit riparian woodlands, swamp forests, deciduous jungles, light secondary forests and thick scrub jungles.

Movement and migration patterns:

  • These chestnut-winged cuckoo species are mostly migratory and breed during summer in north India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southeast China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • They winter in south India, Sri Lanka, Andaman Islands (India), Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
  • Some cuckoo populations are resident and may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation status and concerns:

  • The global population size of these chestnut-winged cuckoo species has not been quantified.
  • The overall population trend is considered to be stable.
  • It has extremely large range and does not approach the thresholds for population trend criterion and the population size criterion.
  • Hence considered not "Vulnerable" to extinction. The loss of habitats due to human activities is the main threat to the survival of these cuckoo species.
  • The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these chestnut-winged cuckoo species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".