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Plaintive Cuckoo

Common name for a species of bird, with the scientific name Cacomantis merulinus (fig.). It belongs to the family Cuculidae. It is a regular bird of the open field bird, purportedly especially in Loei, yet it is solitary and one still has to look out for it, as it might be somewhat difficult to detect. It is fairly small, measuring only about 21.5 to 23.5 centimeters. There are several subspecies, of which Cacomantis merulinus querulus is the most widespread and the prevailing form in Thailand, as well as in other parts of South and Southeast Asia (fig.). Adult males are greyish-brown above (fig.), with a grey head and peachy-rufous below (fig.), and the tail is white with dark bars on the underside (fig.) and has white tips to the uppertail feathers. The legs and feet are yellow, the eyes dark reddish-brown, and the bill dark greyish-black, sometimes with a yellowish tinge, especially on the lower mandible. Adult females are sometimes similar to males, but also occur as a hepatic morph variant, which is reddish-brown with dark bars above, and paler underparts with fainter barring, and a faint supercilium over the eyes. Like other most cuckoos, it doesn't build a nest but is a brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of other birds, in Thailand especially that of tailorbirds, in particular Common Tailorbirds. Above, immature birds (fig.) are grey barred with buff, while the underside is whitish with some buff. Unlike the reddish-brown irises of adults, those of juveniles are rather black. In Thai, the Plaintive Cuckoo is known as nok ih-wahb takkataen. See WILDLIFE PICTURES.