The Greater Coucal is not your average cuckoo


The Crow Pheasant, now extra generally referred to as the Greater Coucal, does not belong to the crow household, Corvidae, however is a big species (48 cm) belonging to the Cuckoo household, Cuculidae. It does have a big crow-like look although, in contrast to a cuckoo, and the fowl’s non-parasitic behaviour is opposite to a majority of cuckoos, who show brood parasitism, a behaviour involving laying eggs in different fowl (host dad and mom) nests.

The Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis), referred to as Bhardwaj in Hindu, is a widespread resident fowl within the Indian Subcontinent and the Southeast. Its plumage is black, with a purple gloss and deep rufous colored wings. The total look is inflexible, with the feathers on the brow bristly and powerful, and the feathers of the neck and breast have robust shiny shafts.

It has a protracted black tail, therefore was usually mistaken for a pheasant, as pheasants usually have lengthy tails, although it by no means belonged to the pheasant-family. One of probably the most charming options of this fowl is its shiny blood-red eyes.

On nature trails, we normally discover the fowl, however it is not simple to return by. Considering its shy nature, we find it by its typical sonorous whoop, whoop, whoop name, whereas basking singly or typically in pairs with wings unfold out, on tree-tops.

You might catch them by the everyday inflating of the throat, bending of the pinnacle and the elevation of their tail whereas they name.

The Greater Coucal is sluggish, and a low and weak flyer, probably why it was as soon as hunted fairly conveniently earlier than and throughout the British period.

Clambering by means of dense foliage swiftly, it’ll enter one finish and hop from department to department, make its means out the opposite. You’ll see it strolling inconspicuously and silently with its tail elevated, on the bottom, between hedge-rows and timber, it forages on the bottom for unlucky beings like giant bugs, centipedes, scorpions, lizards, and small snakes, slugs, caterpillars. It’ll often pilfer eggs from nests of different birds. I as soon as noticed a Greater Coucal feeding on a juvenile Checkered Keelback snake on the Basai Wetlands in Gurugram.

Before their breeding season between June and September, the courtship show of those monogamous birds entails the male attempting to woo a feminine by chasing after her on the bottom and bringing her presents of meals. If she accepts, with a droop of wings, they bond and go into the nesting course of.

According to analysis and observations made by British naturalists, they make nests of twigs, grasses and leaves, domed on the high, forming a cup. These nests are normally made in probably the most dense and inaccessible thickets to keep away from predation.

The author is the founding father of NINOX – Owl About Nature, a nature-awareness initiative. He is the Delhi-NCR reviewer for Ebird, a Cornell University initiative, monitoring uncommon sightings of birds. He previously led a programme of WWF India.

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