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Red-faced Malkoha - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Steve G
Sinharaja, Sri Lanka, July, 2009
Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus


Photo © by Carol Rushton
Sinharaja, Sri Lanka, February 2016

40–47 cm (14¾-18½ in); A large Malkoha with a long graduated tail:

  • Dark green back
  • Green edged with white uppertail
  • White belly and undertail, undertail barred black
  • Black throat and crown, white lower face
  • Large red patch around eye
  • Green bill
  • Dark iris

Sexes similar; the female has a white iris, juveniles duller

Similar Species

Blue-faced Malkoha: which doesn't have any red on the face.


Endemic to Sri Lanka.
Regularly seen at Sinharaja and other remaining rain forests.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Found in tall rain forest. Also in scattered riverine habitats in the dry zone.


A shy inhabitant of the tree canopy.


Feeds on insects (caterpillars, giant stick insects, mantises) and small vertebrates (eg lizards). May occasionally take berries.
Usually seen solitary, in pairs or small flocks. Joins bird waves.


Breeds in the first half of the year (and probably also August to September). The nest is a shallow saucer made of grass, twigs and roots. It's placed in a high bush in a forest area with thick undergrowth. Lays 2 to 3 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2019)

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