Southern Coucal

Southern Coucal  Centropus (sinensis) parroti


  • Centropus : Greek word kentron – spur, spike; pous – foot. { Spiked foot}
  • Sinensis : From China
  • Parroti : Named after German Ornithologist Dr C. P. A. von Parrot (1867–1911)

Distribution in India: Widespread resident below Gangetic plains to Peninsular India.

Description: Size of 45-48 cm ; wt. of male 208–270 g, female 275–380 g . It is smaller than Greater Coucal, glossed blue-green, back and wings chestnut, brownish forehead and throat, less rufous mantel, eyes are ruby red. Female slightly larger.

Habitat: It is 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 Habits: They 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