Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Giant Coua (Coua gigas)


French: Coua géant German: Riesen-Seidenkuckuck Spanish: Cúa gigante

Cuculus gigas


, 1783,



Possibly part of a clade which also includes †C. delalandei and C. serriana#R. Monotypic.


S & W Madagascar in coastal lowlands N to R Betsiboka.

Descriptive notes

58–62 cm; 415 g. Adult dull olive-grey above, face black, tail glossy blackish with white tips; throat and upper breast creamy white, lower breast tan, belly rufous to... read more


Calls from ground or in low tree, a deep “wok wok wok...” and guttural “ayoo-ew... read more


Deciduous forest, thorn scrub in areas of calcium-rich soil, forest and brush on sand, gallery... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists of insects, mainly Lepidoptera, occasionally seeds. Obtains food by walking among dead leaves on forest floor; usually... read more


Nest a bowl of twigs, bark and large leaves, lined with leaf petioles, 3–10 m above ground in tree. Eggs 3, dull white; 43·5 x... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon in S of range, where it is subject to trapping and hunting, but very common at small (265 ha) Berenty Private Reserve, where well protected... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Giant Coua (Coua gigas). 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).