Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Red-billed Malkoha (Zanclostomus javanicus)


French: Malcoha javanais German: Kastanienbauchkuckuck Spanish: Malcoha piquirrojo

Phœnicophaus [sic] Javanicus


, 1821,



Sometimes placed in Phaenicophaeus, but feathered face with small bare patch, and sickle-shaped bill, support separate genus. May be treated as monotypic, as races weak. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. j. pallidus Robinson & Kloss, 1921 – S Myanmar (Tenasserim) and S Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra and Borneo.
  • Z. j. natunensis Chasen, 1935 – Natuna Is.
  • Z. j. javanicus (Horsfield, 1821) – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    42–44 cm; 98–133·5 g. Adult grey above, glossed bluish green on back and wings, tail tipped white; rufous below with grey lower-breast bar; bare skin... read more


    A striking whining call, a quiet and deep “kuk”.


    High trees in evergreen, semi-evergreen, dipterocarp and peatswamp forest (both primary and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Large insects, cicadas (Hemiptera), stick insects (phasmids), grasshoppers (Acrididae, Tettigoniidae), mantids, beetles (Scarabaeidae),... read more


    Breeds early Jun in Peninsular Malaysia, Feb–Apr in Kalimantan. Monogamous, lives in pairs. Nest a flimsy platform of twigs and grass... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The least common malkoha species on Borneo, where it has, however, shown itself capable of adapting to cocoa plantations; also rather... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Red-billed Malkoha (Zanclostomus javanicus). 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 14 December 2019).