Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Olive-capped Coua (Coua olivaceiceps)


French: Coua à tête olive German: Olivkappen-Seidenkuckuck Spanish: Cúa capioliva

Sericosomus olivaceiceps


, 1873,

south-western Madagascar


As suggested in HBW, traditional treatment of C. olivaceiceps as conspecific with C. ruficeps open to question, since both taxa were collected at Mampikohy in Dec, in the breeding season; present species differs from C. ruficeps on account of olive vs rufous crown (3); cool grey vs warm grey breast, with buffy-white vs pale rufous belly to vent (2); narrow zone of intergradation or introgression at Morondava (2); and “very different” voice#R (allow 3). Monotypic.


SW Madagascar from Mangoky R S to L Anony and W base of Anosyenne Mts.

Descriptive notes

42 cm; 182 g. Compared to previously conspecific C. ruficeps, present species is paler above and below, with forehead and crown light brown-green, greyer olive-green... read more


Song described as a striking, rapidly-delivered “wu-kip-kip-kip-kip-kip-kip-kip...” (comprising c.... read more


Occupies spiny forest, as well as transitional spiny bush and dry deciduous forest (including... read more

Food and feeding

Diet largely insects (especially larger arthropods), as well as some fruit. Stomach contents have included large and small grasshoppers (... read more


Breeding data rather incomplete, as also true of C. ruficeps. Egg-laying at least Oct–Jan, but perhaps also later and breeding is... read more


Resident and sedentary, but no information on home range or territory size, cf. C. ruficeps... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. The only common terrestrial coua species within its range in degraded woodland; commonly hunted. Known from several protected areas, among them... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Olive-capped Coua (Coua olivaceiceps). 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 21 January 2020).