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Banded Ground-cuckoo

Neomorphus radiolosus


Despite the large size of the Banded Ground-cuckoo, this species is inconspicuous and not easy to observe.

It is believed to be one of the rarest avian species of Ecuador, and there is very little information existing about this species. The bare blue skin around the Banded Ground-cuckoo’s eye can expand and contract. It is thought this behaviour may be used during display.

This species is part of the Cuculidae family, which are commonly known as the cuckoos. This family diverged from all other birds 49 million years ago, during the Eocene period!

Deforestation of the native forests of Ecuador and Colombia has been ongoing for many years now, but has intensified over the last few decades. Habitat is being rapidly cleared to make way for grazing fields and palm oil, cocoa and banana plantations. This species is known from several protected areas, including Los Farallones de Cali and Munichique National Parks and El Pangan Nature Reserve and more.

  • Order: Cuculiformes
  • Family: Cuculidae
  • Population: 600-1,700
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 46cm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 4.89 (?)
ED Score: 15.58 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


The species is found in the West Andes in south-west Colombia within an elevation range of 30-1,525 metres above sea level.

Habitat and Ecology

This species lives in wet foothill forests, where it is dependent on primary forest, but also uses adjacent secondary forest. It forages for arthropods on the ground and catches insect prey disturbed by army ants.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Crops Livestock Mining Roads/Rail Hunting Logging

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Download the Survival Blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE Fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The Survival Blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here.

Vision (30-50 years)

Banded-Ground Cuckoo population viable and effectively conserved throughout its entire distribution range.

Goal (5-10 years)

The long-term conservation of the Banded-Ground Cuckoo secured in Ecuador and supported by active community involvement.


Establish a monitoring programme of the Banded Ground-Cuckoo Critical
Increase knowledge of the Banded Ground-Cuckoo essential for raising awareness and its conservation Critical
Establish protected areas for the protection of the species through laws, private reserves or corridor creation High
Quantify the threats for the species across its distribution High
Develop a regional conservation network of key stakeholders to conserve and monitor the species High
Raise awareness about the Banded Ground-Cuckoo in local communities living alongside critical populations of the Banded Ground-Cuckoo Medium
Increase local community participation in conservation science Medium
Generate alternative sources of income to support local community livelihoods Low

Eliana Montenegro

  • Project name: A community-based research approach to conserve the endangered Banded Ground-Cuckoo in Ecuador
  • Project site: Canande reserve, Canton Quinindé, Ecuador
  • Active: 2018 - 2020
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