Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)


Taxonomy

French: Coucal rufin German: Bengalenkuckuck Spanish: Cucal bengalí
Taxonomy:

Cuculus bengalensis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Bengal, India

.

Molecular data indicate that this species is closest to C. grillii and C. viridis#R#R. Has been considered possibly conspecific with C. grillii, but marked differences in morphology and, apparently, vocalizations. In the past was thought to be conspecific with C. toulou. Race philippinensis sometimes synonymized with javanensis, but appears to merit recognition#R. Proposed race chamnongi (Thailand and S Vietnam) not certainly separable from nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. b. bengalensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – India and Nepal through Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand to Indochina.
  • C. b. lignator Swinhoe, 1861 – S & SE China, Hainan and Taiwan.
  • C. b. javanensis Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1818 – Malay Peninsula S through Sumatra, Riau and Lingga Archipelagos, Bangka and Belitung to Java, Bali and Borneo, and SW Philippines (Calamian Group, Palawan, Balabac, and Sulu Archipelago).
  • C. b. philippinensis Mees, 1971 – Philippines (except Calamians, Palawan and Sulu Is).
  • C. b. sarasinorum Stresemann, 1912 – Talaud and Sangihe Is, Sulawesi and Lesser Sundas.
  • C. b. medius Bonaparte, 1850 – Moluccas.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 31 cm (India), 34 cm and 88 g (Philippines); female 34 cm (India), 38 cm and 152 g (Philippines). Adult black above and below, often with pale streaking, wings pale... read more

    Voice

    In India, double series of notes, “whoot, whoot”, repeated, then series of “kurook, kurook, kurook... read more

    Habitat

    Tall grass, reedbeds, swamps and marshlands, bamboo thickets, second-growth forest, open-country... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including grasshoppers (Acrididae), locusts, crickets, mantids, beetles, Hemiptera, hairy caterpillars, also spiders, lizards (... read more

    Breeding

    Breeds in India after onset of rains in Jun, nests May–Sept; in Myanmar nests in the rains, in Malay Peninsula nests Dec–Jul,... read more

    Movements

    Resident. Perhaps only a summer visitor locally, e.g. in Nepal.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. A common resident of open country, if somewhat local in some areas. Rapidly colonizes new habitat where forests are cleared, appearing up to 8 km... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2017). Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54880 on 22 June 2017).