Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Pied Coucal (Centropus ateralbus)


French: Coucal atralbin German: Weißkopfkuckuck Spanish: Cucal blanquinegro
Other common names: White-necked Coucal

Centropus ateralbus


, 1826,

New Ireland


On molecular data, sister to a clade formed by C. menbeki and C. chalybeus#R. In past thought closest to C. phasianinus, C. spilopterus and perhaps C. bernsteini; or lumped with C. milo#R. Monotypic.


Bismarck Archipelago: New Ireland, Djaul, New Britain, Lolobau and Umboi.

Descriptive notes

42–48 cm; male 330 g, immature female 342 g. Unique in being only black-and-white coucal in range, with C. violaceus being much larger and lacking any trace of... read more


Vocalizes both day and night. Alarm a short “chit” or “chunk”, given... read more


Forest, forest edge, secondary forest, strand vegetation by shore cultivations, plantations of... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including large stick insects and longicorn beetles, also lizards and other small animals. Active, clumsy, walking or hopping... read more


Season poorly known, but recent fledglings observed Nov–Feb and nestlings at various stages in Feb, May and Jul or Aug. Nest a hollow... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. True status very poorly known, but species appears to be uncommon in uplands of New Britain, though widespread and common throughout lowlands and... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pied Coucal (Centropus ateralbus). 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 29 February 2020).