This large, black-and-white cuckoo is larger than Jacobin’s cuckoo and has a distinctive striped throat and breast and a larger, shaggier black crest. It is a breeding, summer migrant to southern Africa where it is found in savannah and woodland. Like whydahs, cuckoos are brood parasites and in the case of levaillant’s cuckoo its brood hosts are arrow-marked and pied babblers.
Eileen and I were visiting Borakalalo National Park for the first time in October 2010 when we spotted this cuckoo on the way to Moretele Camp, which sits on the banks of the Moretele River. Besides cuckoos this park is also good for a number of specials including meyer’s parrot, grey-tit flycatcher, eurasian golden oriole, double-banded sandgrouse, african finfoot, white-backed night heron and bushveld pipit. Another good spot for it is the roadside birding route from Zaagkuildrift to Kgomo Kgomo, especially as you get closer to Kgomo Kgomo itself.