Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Near Threatened

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus)


French: Malcoha à ventre roux German: Rotbauchkuckuck Spanish: Malcoha ventrirrufo

Cuculus Sumatranus


, 1822,

hills of Sumatra


Sometimes combined with P. viridirostris, P. diardi and P. tristis in a separate genus, Rhopodytes. Bornean population sometimes separated subspecifically as smaller minor, but overlaps in size with birds elsewhere in range. Proposed race rodolphi (from Batu Is, off W Sumatra) possibly larger, but again some overlap with other populations. Monotypic.


S Myanmar (S Tenasserim), S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra and Borneo and several of their satellite islands.

Descriptive notes

40–41 cm; 114 g. Adult dark metallic green above, head grey, wings metallic greenish blue, tail bluish grey; throat and breast grey, belly and undertail-coverts rufous-... read more


“Tok-tok” or “chi-chi”, also a thin high-pitched mew.


Forest edge, second growth, mangroves, durian plantations, in dense crowns of trees. Lowlands to... read more

Food and feeding

Locusts, mantids, stick insects, leaf insects, crickets, grasshoppers, large hairy caterpillars and occasionally frogs. Quiet, creeps... read more


Breeding records in Jul in Borneo; copulation witnessed in late Aug, Sumatra. Nest comprises a flat platform of sticks, lined with leaves,... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Reported to be very common in S Tenasserim, but uncommon in neighbouring parts of S Thailand and only fairly common in Malaysia; in Singapore, likely... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus). 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).