Greater Coucal – courtship behaviour

posted in: birds, Courtship-Mating | 0

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


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