Sub-adult Greater Coucal

posted in: Miscellaneous | 3

“We have been developing a garden at our new house for the last two years. Have had a couple of Greater Coucals (Centropus sinensis) visiting (above). Fascinating, as they are large enough for us to observe more clearly what they do without the aid of binoculars… they seem to drink a lot of water! They spent long minutes at the several water bowls in the garden. And hopped around on the grass, and in and out of trees. They indulged in mating behaviour too and we later saw one of them with grass in its mouth. We have plenty of nest-boxes up of various sizes, and we are hoping that along with the sparrows and mynas already making homes in our house, coucals will too!

“It is a treat to watch these birds. I see on the net that they are widely found in India, particularly in Rajasthan, Haryana, W Bengal, Karanataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”

Anjana Mehta
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
10th June 2012

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3 Responses

  1. Tou Jing Yi

    Nice garden, the Greater Coucals that are once an uncommon but regular sight just opposite my house is now no longer there and they are fear to be locally extinct from my immediate surrounding. Due to Coucals breeding habits, it probably does not enter nest boxes for breeding, but some hole nesters especially is likely to take it if you can provide sufficient safetiness to the nest box, like sufficient height, mechanism to avoid mammals and snakes from reaching and etc may give you higher chance of someone using the nestbox.

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  2. I love these birds, their color, red eyes, deep hooting. I just discovered them as i have just moved to hong kong, in the new territories, and see them often in the fields around my house. They are excellent tightrope walkers, shimmying up ground lines to the top of poles to call out. They also seem to be very shy, and take off as soon as they spot you, even from far away. I don’t know if I will ever be so lucky as to have them visit my garden!

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  3. Lovely picture Anjana! I also love these birds. Their call is so hauntingly lovely. I also like their habit, the way they walk around with such dignity. A very beautiful bird too that usually you only get a fleeting glimpse of at any time.
    There is a species of this in Africa with a similar and equally lovely call which Im used to. There we called it the rain bird, as it’s call always seemed to indicate rain. As the rainy season is also the breeding season, it makes sense they should call to one another at this time. So I was very surprised to hear it far away here in Hong-Kong one morning where I live now. We never had them before around our garden so I was thrilled. Now I see them regularly. As we are surrounded by dense forest they are often found in clearings in our garden and on the road. Usually extremely shy but when courting they are less so. They seem to go into a trance when courting so are easier seen. They like areas of dense growth like big clumps of giant wild ginger, bamboo thickets, areas covered in tangled masses of creepers with some open grassy areas. Every evening and morning they call close by and I can usually spot them. They’ve begun courting so hopefully there will be more soon. Seems like so much could go wrong, typhoons, predators like leopard cats, big snakes and forest raptors. My fingers are crossed for them anyway. Once again brilliant shot, thanks for showing.

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