; class Aves, order Cuculiformes)
A family of small to medium, long-tailed, generally short-legged birds most of which have a stout, slightly decurved bill, and toes that are zygodactylous or semi-zygodactylous. The 27 species of coucals (Centropus) of Africa, southern Asia, and Australasia have heavy, hooked bills. Most members of the family are arboreal, but some are terrestrial (e.g. Geococcyx californianus, greater roadrunner, and Centropus). They are mainly insectivorous and many species are brood-parasitic (Clamator glandarius, great spotted cuckoo, one of four species in its genus, all of which are migratory, parasitizes crows and starlings; each of the 13 Cuculus species parasitizes a variety of hosts). Most non-parasitic species build open nests in trees but Centropus builds an enclosed nest with a side entrance, close to the ground. They are mainly solitary, but Crotophaga species (anis) are gregarious and build communal nests. The eight Coccyzus species of America are secretive, dwelling in woodland and nesting in trees. There are 35 genera in the family, with 130 species, found world-wide. The call of Cuculus canorus (common cuckoo) gives rise to the family name.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.