(Last Updated on : 28-10-2015)
Greater Coucal or Crow Pheasant is an Indian Bird
that bears a scientific name "Centropus sinensis
" widespread in Asian countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and many other countries.
Concentration of Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal is widespread resident in Asia, from India, east to south China, Nepal and Indonesia, it is divided into several subspecies, and some being treated as full species.
Structure of Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal is large, crow-like with a long tail and coppery brown wings and found in wide range of habitats from jungle to cultivation and urban gardens. They are weak fliers, and are often seen clambering about in vegetation or walking on the ground as they forage for insects, eggs and nestlings of other birds. They have a familiar deep resonant call which is associated with omens in many parts of its range.
Size of Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal is a large species of cuckoo of size 48 cm. The head is black, upper mantle and undersides are black glossed with purple. The back and wings are chestnut brown. There are no pale shaft streaks on the coverts. The eyes are ruby red. Juveniles are duller black with spots on the crown and there are whitish bars on the underside and tail. There are several geographic races and some of these populations are sometimes treated as full species.
Races of Greater Coucal
The nominate race of Greater Coucal is found from the Indus Valley Region of Pakistan through the sub- Himalayan Mountain Range
and Gangetic plains to Nepal, Assam and the Bhutan foothills into southern China (Guangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian).
Structure of Young Greater Coucal
The young Greater Coucal when hatched have black skin and white hairy feathers (termed as trichoptiles) forming a fringe over the eye and beak.
The centre of the belly is pinkish and the upper mandible is black with a pink edge. The iris is brown, gape yellow and feet dark brown-grey.
Feeding of Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal is a large bird which takes a wide range of insects, caterpillars and small vertebrates such as the Saw-scaled vipers. They are also known to eat bird eggs, nestlings, fruits and seeds. In Tamil Nadu
, Greater Coucal were found to feed predominantly on snails Helix vittata. They are also known to feed on the toxic fruits of Cascabela thevetia (Yellow Oleander).In Oil palm cultivation, they have been noted as an avian pest due to their habit of eating the fleshy mesocarps of the ripe fruits.