Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Coucal (Centropus toulou)


French: Coucal toulou German: Tulukuckuck Spanish: Cucal malgache
Other common names: Malagasy Coucal, Madagascar Black Coucal

Cuculus Toulou

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Molecular data indicate that this species is sister to C. goliath#R. Sometimes regarded as conspecific with C. grillii, but voices of the two differ; in the past was occasionally considered to include C. bengalensis. Extinct population of Assumption I (Aldabra Group) sometimes awarded separate race †assumptionis. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. t. toulou (Statius Müller, 1776) – Madagascar.
  • C. t. insularis Ridgway, 1894 – Aldabra; formerly also Assumption I (S of Aldabra), where now extinct.
  • Descriptive notes

    40–46 cm; male 139 g, female 189 g (toulou), male 117 g, female 131 g (insularis). Adult black, but for unbarred rufous-chestnut middle and lower back... read more


    Muffled “toogoo toogoo toogoo...”, decreasing in volume, duets; a “water-bottle... read more


    Dense vegetation or underbrush in forest, primary forest, recent clearings, second growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, large insects (beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars), spiders, lizards, rats, chicks and eggs. Feeds on ground, in thick... read more


    Adults in breeding plumage Jul–Sept; nesting records Sept–Mar. Nest a large domed sphere, woven from dry grass, 1–4 m... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and fairly common in Madagascar, except on the denuded central plateau; estimated population of several hundred birds in Aldabra Is, where... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Madagascar Coucal (Centropus toulou). 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 8 December 2019).