Pixel classification in land scape images is a challenging process especially in forest images due to the similar spectral features of pixels situated close to each other. Previously, meta-heuristic coupled artificial neural network (ANN) models have been used to classify the two-different species, namely Japanese Cedar, Japanese Cypress and one mixed forest class. Previous attempts have shown reasonable improvement in the classification process using genetic algorithm (GA) supported neural network over other traditional approaches. Consequently, in the current work, a modified Cuckoo Search (CS) supported Neural Network (NN-MCS) classifier is proposed. The lévy flight associated with cuckoo search has been modified using McCulloch's method of generating stable random numbers. The proposed approach is compared with GA-NN using single objective function and CS-NN (ANN trained with CS) classifiers in terms of confusion matrix based performance metrics. The results depicted the dominance of the suggested NN-MCS model compared to the CS-NN model to a greater extent. © 2017 The authors and IOS Press. All rights reserved.