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Scale-feathered Malkoha

From Opus

Photo by Romy OconMount Makiling, Laguna Province, Philippines, October 2004
Photo by Romy Ocon
Mount Makiling, Laguna Province, Philippines, October 2004

Alternative names: Scale-feathered Cuckoo, Scaly Cuckoo

Dasylophus cumingi

Phaenicophaeus cumingi


[edit] Identification

42cm. A unique malkoha.

  • Grey head with flat, scaly glossy blue-black feathers
  • Dark brown upperparts
  • Glossy dark green to blue wings and rump
  • Blackish tail with white tip
  • Chestnut breast and dull black belly
  • Red bare skin around eye, dotted with small warts
  • Pale creamy-buff to brown bill

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a reddish brown head, wings and body, becoming blackish glossed bluish green over lower back, rump and wings. The scaly head feathers begin to grow when the bird is still short-tailed.

[edit] Distribution

Endemic to the northern Philippines where found on Luzon, Marinduque and Catanduanes.
Fairly common in suitable habitat. However the continued forest destruction surely presents a major threat to this species.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a Monotypic species.
Placed in genus Dasylophus by Dickinson (2003) and Gill & Wright (2008). Others place it in Phaenicophaeus or in its own genus Lepidogrammus.

[edit] Habitat

Forests with dense vines.
Occurs from lowlands up to 2000m.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Feeds on insects, scorpions, snails, worms and small lizards and snakes. Known to prey on small passerines trapped in mist-nets. Forages in lower strata of forest. Usually seen singly or in small groups. Often found in mixed-species flocks.

[edit] Breeding

Presumed breeding season from March to May. The nest is reported to be a flimsy, cup-shaped structure. Lays 2 to 3 egg.

[edit] Movements

A resident species. However a record from Dalton Pass suggest some dispersal.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  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
  3. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2012. IOC World Bird Names (version 3.2). Available at
  4. Dickinson EC (ed.) 2003. The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ, USA. ISBN 9780691117010

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