Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Red-capped Coua (Coua ruficeps)


French: Coua à tête rousse German: Rostkappen-Seidenkuckuck Spanish: Cúa capirrojo

Coua ruficeps

G. R. Gray

, 1846,



As suggested in HBW, traditional treatment of C. olivaceiceps as conspecific with present species open to question, on grounds that both taxa were collected at Mampikohy in Dec, in the breeding season; here treated as two species. Monotypic.


W Madagascar from Analalava W & S to Soalala, near Morondava.

Descriptive notes

42 cm; 186–204 g. Adult pale greenish brown above becoming glossy or bronzy green on scapulars and wing-coverts (or greyish green on median and lesser coverts) and dull... read more


Song variously described as a short “whrioouu cou cou”, the initial note whirring and... read more


Dry deciduous forest (including degraded areas), wooded savanna, second growth, gallery forest on... read more

Food and feeding

Comparatively few data, even compared to formerly conspecific C. olivaceiceps. Diet comprises largely arthropods (mainly... read more


Breeds Oct–Apr. Site fidelity, to same general territory, apparently strong. Nest a shallow bowl of thin branches, bark and creepers... read more


Resident, but some variation in territory size, e.g. in dry forest at Ampijoroa, average was 4·3 ha... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. The only common terrestrial coua species in degraded wooded habitats. Rather restricted range, but species is apparently relatively adaptable to some... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Red-capped Coua (Coua ruficeps). 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 12 December 2019).