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Lesser Black Coucal - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Black-billed Coucal; Black Scrub Coucal, Bernstein's Coucal

Centropus bernsteini


46 - 52cm.

  • Black plumage, glossed green above
  • Dark brown eye
  • Black bill
  • manam is larger

Sexes similar. Juveniles are barred rufous above, their wings and tail are narrowly barred buff to pale chestnut, the throat whitish, the neck marked with chestnut-brown, the central belly is grey with dark bars, the rest of the underparts is blackish brown with narrow pale barring.


Endemic to New Guinea.
Not uncommon but little known.


Forms a superspecies with Pheasant Coucal and Biak Coucal.
Two subspecies recognized:

  • C. b. bernsteini in western and central New Guinea east to Simbang and the Sattelberg
  • C. b. manam on Manam Island (northeastern New Guinea)


Found in scrub, tall cane grass and rank vegetation. Occurs from sea-level up to 500m, sometimes higher.


Shy and difficult to observe.


No information.


The nest is a domed mass made of cane grass with a side opening. It's placed in grass. Lays 2 egg.


This is a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334221

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