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 Black-billed Cuckoo

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Black-billed Cuckoo.

Use the links below to view the Black-billed Cuckoo reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Black-billed Cuckoo sightings.
Black-billed Cuckoo Archives Reports
Fall 2003 10
Spring 2003 8
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 7
Summer 2002 8
Spring 2002 20
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 3
Summer 2001 6
Spring 2001 19
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 2
Summer 2000 10
Spring 2000 11
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 3
Spring/Summer 1999 5

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Black-billed Cuckoo

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Black-billed Cuckoo
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Black-billed Cuckoo
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Coccyzus erythrophthalmus (Wilson)
Black-billed Cuckoo

Locally common summer resident.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 415).

SPRING.-Arrival has been reported from the last of April to the first half of June.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area this cuckoo has appeared as early as April 30, arrival of individuals averaging May 12 and and slightly larger numbers averaging May 25 (L. W. Campbell, 1940:190, 204). In southern counties it arrives occasionally in the first and second weeks of May, but ordinarily not before mid-May. (The "April 17, 1906," date of N. A. Wood and Tinker, 1934: 24, apparently should be "May 14,1906," as in Tinker, 1910: 48.) Northward at Freeland, Saginaw County, Miller Empey collected an individual (U.M.M.Z.) on May 24, 1929.

Upper Peninsula.-At both Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), and McMillan, Luce County (Bryens), a few of this species (seldom more than 2 or 3 in a day) have been recorded regularly each spring, from the last week of May or the first week of June, but often not until later.

SUMMER.-Eggs have been found from late May to mid-September, most commonly in June and early July. The data available indicate that the Black-billed Cuckoo is more common in Michigan than the Yellow-billed Cuckoo except about Detroit and southeastern Monroe County.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 92) stated that this species was outnumbered by the Yellow-billed Cuckoo by 2 to 1 in the Toledo-Erie marsh area; Swales (1903: 17) listed the Black-bill as a common summer resident in the Detroit area though less common than the Yellow-bill. Carlton F. Wells discovered 3 nests with eggs in the Ann Arbor area on May 23, 1941; Walkinshaw found a nest with 2 young in the vicinity of Battle Creek on June 22, 1940. In Kalamazoo County, Gibbs (1885: 135) and F. W. Rapp (1931: 15) listed the species as a common summer resident, Rapp recording nests from May 25 (1902, 1 egg) to June 30 (1914, 2 eggs). F. S. Shuver (1898: 17) found a nest with 4 eggs near Bangor, Van Buren County, on September 14, 1897; G. A. Ammann reported the species nesting at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County (nest with 4 eggs on June 17, 2023). N. A. Wood and Gaige (1911: 286) reported it as common in northwestern Huron County in 1908. In the summer of 1940, A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case listed it as common to abundant on North and South Manitou islands, Leelanau County; T. D. Hinshaw and E. E. Morrill found it common on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, in 1937. Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) reported a number of nests in the Douglas Lake region, Cheboygan County.

Upper Peninsula.-Van Tyne (1923: 23) found a nest with 2 young near Hessel, Mackinac County, on June 23, 1919. Both Bryens (at McMillan, Luce County) and Christofferson (at Blaney, Schoolcraft County) re- ported the species throughout the summer, seeing from 1 to 4 in a day. In Chippewa County, specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected from Whitefish Point in 1912 and 1914 (N. A. Wood, 1914: 64) and Drummond Island in 1938 (T. D. Hinshaw and E. A. MacMullan) ; in Dickinson County on July 1, 2023 (Gaige, 1914: 80) ; and at Menominee on August 9, 2023 (E. T. Hooper). S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 178), recorded the species in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, on June 16, 1925, and July 17, 1913, and Van Tyne saw several there in late June, 1936. John L. George and R. L. Patterson saw 3 at James Lake on June 30 and 2 at Golden Lake on July 15, 1938, in Iron County.

FALL.-Main migration extends to mid-September.

Upper Peninsula.-On Isle Royale only one Black-bill (U.M.M.Z.) has been noted at this season (on September 12, 1929, by N. A. Wood). At both Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), and McMillan, Luce County (Bryens), a very few have been observed each fall, usually through most of August, sometimes until the third week of September (3 on September 18, 1940, at Blaney). At Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, A. D. Tinker and R. E. Olsen saw 3 and collected 1 during the last week of August, 1931.

Lower Peninsula.-One Black-bill was seen in Iosco County on September 20 (N. A. Wood and Frothingham, 1905: 47) ; on Charity Island the species was noted until September 15 (1 in U.M.M.Z.) and September 20 (N. A. Wood, 1911: 96). In Kalamazoo County it was said to depart "in late September" (Gibbs, 1885: 135), although at Vicksburg it was not re- corded by F. W. Rapp (1931: 15) after September 10. It has seldom been found after mid-September at Ann Arbor, at Detroit (Swales' notes), or in the Toledo-Erie marsh area, where the average latest date for small numbers has been September 1, and for individuals, September 14, though individuals have been noted there even a month later (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 190, 204).

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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