Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Blue-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris)


French: Malcoha à bec vert German: Kleiner Grünschnabelkuckuck Spanish: Malcoha cariazul

Zanclostomus viridirostris


, 1840,

bottom of the Coonoor Pass, India


Sometimes combined with P. diardi, P. sumatranus and P. tristis in a separate genus, Rhopodytes. Monotypic.


Peninsular India S from Goa and C Odisha to Sri Lanka, also in S Gujarat and N Maharashtra.

Descriptive notes

39 cm; 77 g. Adult greenish grey above, head slate-grey, wings glossy blue-green, tail long, graduated, black with white tips; throat and breast dark grey with light grey... read more


Call a low croak, “kraa”.


Secondary woodland, thorn scrub and bush, especially with Euphorbia antiquorum. Low... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, caterpillars, grasshoppers, mantids, cicadas, beetles; also lizards, fruit. Spends time in branches and thickets, peering at... read more


Breeds nearly all year, mainly Mar–May in S India. Nest a bulky saucer of twigs lined with green leaves, near ground to 1–2 m... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread though not abundant throughout most of its range, in a habitat that is not immediately at risk; common in dry zone of low country in Sri... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Blue-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris). 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 25 February 2020).