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Greater coucal

Centropus sinensis
Photo by J.M. Garg (Wikipedia)

Common name:
greater coucal (en); cucal-real (pt); grand coucal (fr); cucal grande (es); heckenkuckuck (de)

Order Cuculiformes
Family Cuculidae

This species is found in southern Asia, from India to southern China and Indonesia.

This large cuckoo is 47-53 cm long and weighs 230-270 g.

The greater coucal is found in a wide range of habitats, including dry grasslands and scrublands, forests edges, mangroves, freshwater marshes, river banks and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

They feed on large insects and caterpillars, snails, small mammals, lizards, bird eggs and nestlings, fruits and seeds.

Greater coucals breed mostly in June-September. The male builds the nest, a large globular mass of grasses, leaves and twigs. It is placed in dense vegetation inside tangles of creepers, bamboo clump or Pandanus crowns, up to 6 m above the ground. The female lays 3-6 chalky white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 15-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-22 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common almost everywhere throughout its range. Overall the species is believed to be stable, but some populations are locally threatened by habitat loss.

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