Greater Coucal – courtship behaviour

on 26th November 2021

A Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis intermedius) came out of the forest onto a tall tree on the path I was on and proceeded to ‘display’. I had first thought it was sunning the wings/plumage, a common behaviour in the mornings and after rain. It had been a dark drizzly morning but rain had stopped by 7.30am and it was now already 10.15 am and, interestingly, the bird had completely ignored me.

The bird was intermittently displaying wings and tail (spreading them out) with occasional bowing postures and tail raising. I then spotted another adult about 7-8 meters away. I suspected this was courtship display by the male. The display lasted for a few minutes and then the bird rushed past me to a third adult I had missed behind me. There was a brief physical conflict and the other (presumed male) was chased off. Both the adults (presumed courtship pair) then moved further into the forest. No calls were during the display.

There is little information on their courtship behaviour. Erritzøe, Mann, Brammer, Fuller (2012) state that: pair bonding is long-lastingin courtship both sexes raise breast and flank feathers, droop wings with tail spread and raised.


Johannes Erritzøe, Clive F. Mann, Frederik P. Brammer and Richard A Fuller. (2012) Cuckoos of the World. Helm Identification Gudies.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ulu-Kinta, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Mixed Secondary and Primary Forest

Date: 1st June 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED


If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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