The black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythrophthalmus) is an uncommon but widespread species in BCR 14. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in one or more states in BCR 14.

Habitat Needs

It prefers low dense shrubby vegetation as an understory within larger areas of upland hardwoods. It also uses brushy pastures, hedgerows, open woodlands, orchards and brushy roadsides. The key component is low dense, shrubby vegetation in relatively extensive woodlands. These birds are declining throughout the range.

Its territory size is between 11 to 50 acres. Densities may increase when there are high tent caterpillar or gypsy moth populations.

Habitat Management Practices

Maintain a dense shrubby condition within and across 50-acre units of woodland or old field and pasture land.

When treating old fields or pastures, schedule mowing or brush hogging so that about 30 percent of any given 50-acre unit remains in a dense thicket at all times.

Maintain a dense shrubby condition along back roads and field borders. 

When assessing properties for black-billed cuckoo habitat, look for these soil series: Berkshire, Bice, Charlton, Sutton in Important Forest Soils Group IA and Acton, Canton, Chichester, Monadnock, Newfields, Sunapee, Waumbek in Important Forest Soils Group IB.

Silvicultural Practices

In woodlands (either the hardwood or the oak-pine complex) consider patch cuts ranging from 3 to 5 acres if managing using the even-aged system. A two-cut shelterwood system would also establish the desired shrub layer.

In all-aged stands, use group selection cuts, maximizing the size of the groups.

Additional Information