Cuckoos are medium-sized birds that range in size from the little bronze cuckoo, at 17 g and 15 cm (6 inches), to the channel-billed cuckoo, at 630 g (1. 4 lbs) and 63 cm (25 inches). There is generally little sexual dimorphism in size, but where it exists, it can be either the male or the female that is larger. One of the most important distinguishing features of the family are the feet, which are zygodactyl, meaning that the two inner toes point forward and the two outer backward. There are two basic body forms, arboreal species (like the common cuckoo) which are slender and have short tarsi, and terrestrial species (like the roadrunners) which are more heavy set and have long tarsi. Almost all species have long tails which are used for steering in terrestrial species and as a rudder during flight in the arboreal species. The wing shape also varies with lifestyle, with the more migratory species like the black-billed cuckoo possessing long narrow wings capable of strong direct flight, and the more terrestrial and sedentary cuckoos like the coucals and malkohas having shorter rounded wings and a more laboured gliding flight.
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