Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Red-billed Malkoha (Zanclostomus javanicus)


French: Malcoha javanais German: Kastanienbauchkuckuck Spanish: Malcoha piquirrojo

Phœnicophaus [sic] Javanicus


, 1821,



Sometimes placed in Phaenicophaeus, but feathered face with small bare patch, and sickle-shaped bill, support separate genus. May be treated as monotypic, as races weak. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. j. pallidus Robinson & Kloss, 1921 – S Myanmar (Tenasserim) and S Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra and Borneo.
  • Z. j. natunensis Chasen, 1935 – Natuna Is.
  • Z. j. javanicus (Horsfield, 1821) – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    42 cm; 98 g. Adult grey above, glossed bluish green on back and wings, tail tipped white; rufous below with grey lower-breast bar; bare skin around eye grey or blue, iris... read more


    A striking whining call, a quiet and deep “kuk”.


    High trees in drier forest, forest edge, secondary scrub. Lowlands and hilly areas to 1000 m,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Large insects, cicadas, stick insects (phasmids), grasshoppers (Acrididae, Tettigoniidae), mantids, beetles (Scarabaeidae), bugs, winged... read more


    Breeds Jun in Peninsular Malaysia, Apr in Kalimantan. Monogamous, lives in pairs. Nest a flimsy platform of twigs. Eggs chalky white; 29 x... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. The least common malkoha species in Borneo, where it has, however, shown itself capable of adapting to cocoa plantations; also rather infrequent in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2017). Red-billed Malkoha (Zanclostomus javanicus). 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 on 28 July 2017).