Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Buff-headed Coucal (Centropus milo)


French: Coucal à tête fauve German: Blasskopfkuckuck Spanish: Cucal milo

Centropus Milo


, 1856,

Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands


Race albidiventris distinctive, with lower underparts and rump white vs black (score 4), and strong tan wash to white in plumage generally (1); but mensurally and behaviourally no differences apparent or known. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. albidiventris Rothschild, 1904 – White-bellied Coucal – Vella Lavella, Mbava, Ranongga, Simbo, Gizo, Kolombangara, Kohinggo, New Georgia, Rendova, Tetepare, Vangunu and Nggatokae (WC Solomons).
  • C. m. milo Gould, 1856 – Buff-headed Coucal – Guadalcanal and Florida Is (S Solomons).
  • Descriptive notes

    60–68 cm. Adult black except for buff foreparts; iris red to red-brown, bill black, basal skin deep grey, feet blue-grey. Juvenile brown, mottled with black, wings and... read more


    A “sawing” or “snoring” noise; pair members alternate “urrrh”... read more


    Lowland, hill and mist forest; primary and secondary forest and thickets in gardens.

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including stick insects, grasshoppers, beetles, pupae; giant centipedes. Feeds mainly on the ground, but also occasionally ascends... read more


    No information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common on New Georgia, where can be found in secondary growth and near human habitation. Little known; research and survey work required.

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Buff-headed Coucal (Centropus milo). 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 19 February 2020).