DistributionRead full entry
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) USFWS (2001) defined the Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of yellow-billed cuckoo in the western United States as including populations west of the crest of the Rocky Mountains. For the northern tier of Rocky Mountain States (Montana, Wyoming, northern and central Colorado), the crest coincides with the Continental Divide. In southern Colorado and New Mexico the crest coincides with the eastern boundary of the Rio Grande drainage, including the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and excluding the drainage of the Pecos River. In west Texas the DPS boundary is the line of mountain ranges that form a southeastern extension of the Rocky Mountains to the Big Bend area of west Texas, and which form the western boundary of the Pecos River drainage.
Historically, the species was widespread and locally common in California and Arizona, locally common in a few river reaches in New Mexico, locally common in Oregon and Washington, generally local and uncommon in scattered drainages of the arid and semiarid portions of western Colorado, western Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah, and probably uncommon and local in British Columbia (USFWS 2011).
Western populations of the yellow-billed cuckoo currently nest in scattered, isolated areas west of the Rocky Mountains, in California (maninly in isolated sites in the Sacramento, Amargosa, Kern, Santa Ana, and Colorado River valleys; Laymon and Halterman 1987a), central and southern Arizona, southern and western New Mexico, extreme western Texas (subspecies there is uncertain; see USFWS 2001), Sonora, Chihuahua, and south irregularly to southern Baja California and Zacatecas, Mexico (Howell and Webb 1995, Russell and Monson 1998, Hughes 1999), with irregular and/or highly localized nesting in Nevada (USFWS 2001), Utah (J. Parrish, pers. comm., cited by Johnson et al. 2008; Johnson and O'Brien 1998), western Colorado (Kingery 1998, USFWS 2001), and possibly Wyoming, Montana, and southwestern Idaho (USFWS 2001, 2011). Localized nesting formerly occurred north to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia (Hughes 1999), but breeding populations in these areas are apparently extirpated (USFWS 2011).
The wintering area for this subspecies has not yet been located (Laymon and Halterman 1987b), but probably it is in South America, possibly to northern Argentina (AOU 1957, 1998).