Greater Coucal

Greater Coucal   Centropus sinensis


  • Centropus : Greek word  kentron – spur, spike;  pous – foot.  { Spiked foot}
  • Sinensis : From China

Vernacular Names:  Hindi: Mahuk, Pun: Kamadi kukkar, Ben, Bangladesh: Kuka, Ass: Kukoo sorai, Kukuha sorai, Dabahi kukuha, Cachar: Dao di dai, Mani: Nongkoubi, Guj: Hokko, Ghoyaro, Ghumkiyo, Kutch: Hooka, Mar: Bharadwaj, Kumbhar kaola, Kukkudkumbha, Sonkawla, Ori: Dahuka, Ta: Kalli kaka, Chembakam, Te: Jemudu kaki, Chemara, Mahoka kaki, Samba kaki, Mal: Uppan, Chemboth, Kan: Kemboota, Sinh: Atti kukkula, Bu kukkula

Distribution in India: Resident of lower parts of Himalayas and Easter India

Description:  Size of 47–56 cm; wt. of male 208–270 g, female 275–380 g. Adult is black, glossed blue to purplish, back and wings chestnut, long and broad black tail, black wing-linings; iris brown to red, bill black, feet black. The eyes are ruby red. Female slightly larger. Found in open areas with bushes and scattered small trees, sometimes in urban parks tall grassland, thickets, bamboo, scrub near cultivation, paddy fields, cover near streams and swamps, mangroves, gardens; widespread, except in dense primary forest. In hills to 2000 m

Food HabitsThey eat small mammals like mice, reptiles like  lizards, snakes, insects, centipedes, scorpions, spiders, crabs, snails, slugs, eggs and nestlings of small birds, fruits and seeds. It is  terrestrial and skulking, stalks, walks, hops and runs in pursuit of prey; creeps through shrubs and robs birds’ nests; prowls on mud banks of rivers near water’s edge.

Breeding Habits: They breed in July- Sept. They are monogamous, and the courtship display involves chases on the ground and the male brings food gifts for the female. The female lowers her tail and droops her wings to signal acceptance. The nest is built mostly by the male over about three to eight days. The nest is a deep cup with a dome in dense vegetation inside tangles of creepers, bamboo clump or Pandanus crowns. They can be built as high as 6m above the ground. Both the male and the female take part in nest building. They lay 2 to 4 eggs in a clutch that hatch after 15–16 days of incubation. The chicks take 18–22 days to fledge