Clades: Insolitaves; Aves; Animals.
Genera; 1 family.
Members: Common or European cuckoo, roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, coucals and anis.
Region: cosmopolitan, majority tropical.
Culture: Cuckoos have played a role in Greek mythology as sacred to the goddess Hera. In Europe, the cuckoo is associated with spring, and with cuckoldry, for example in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. In India, cuckoos are sacred to Kamadeva, the god of desire and longing, whereas in Japan, the cuckoo symbolises unrequited love.
Cuculiformes are generally medium-sized slender birds. Most species live in trees, though a sizeable minority are ground-dwelling. Some species are migratory. The cuckoos feed on insects, insect larvae and a variety of other animals, as well as fruit. Some species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other species, but the majority of species raise their own young.
The coucals and anis are sometimes separated as distinct families, the Centropodidae and Crotophagidae respectively. The cuckoo order Cuculiformes is one of three that make up the Otidimorphae, the other two being the turacos and the bustards.