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Madagascar Coucal - BirdForum Opus

Photo by balticbird
Perinet, Madagascar

Alternative names: Madagascan Coucal, Malagasy Coucal

Centropus toulou


40 - 46cm.

  • Black plumage with rufous-chestnut middle and lower back and wings
  • Glossy black tail
  • Red eye
  • Black bill
  • Non-breeding plumage striped tan above, black parts with buffy shaft streaks, rose-brown bill
  • insularis with paler underparts in non-breeding plumage

Sexes similar. Juveniles similar to non-breeding adults but more barred above and with short shaft streaks and barred wings and tail.


Found on Madagascar and Aldabra Island.
Fairly common on Madagascar.


Three subspecies recognized:

  • C. t. toulou in Madagascar
  • C. t. insularis on Aldabra
  • C. t. assumptionis formerly on Assumption Island, extinct

Assumptionis is sometimes included in insularis.
Sometimes considered conspecific with Black Coucal or even with Lesser Coucal.


Found in various types of forest, mangroves, marshy reedbeds, grass and gardens.
Occurs from sea-level up to 1800m.



Feeds on invertebrates, large insects, spiders, lizards, rats, chickens and eggs. Forages on the ground and in thick scrub. Often feeds in pairs, one bird defending the food against Crested Drongos.


Nesting recorded from September to March. The nest is a large domed sphere, made from dry grass. It's placed 1 to 4m above the ground in a dense bush. Lays 2 to 3 eggs. The male attends the nest.


This is a resident species. Resident.


  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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