Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)


Red-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus)


French: Malcoha à face rouge German: Nacktstirnkuckuck Spanish: Malcoha carirrojo

Cuculus pyrrhocephalus


, 1769,

Sri Lanka




Sri Lanka.

Descriptive notes

40–47 cm. The only other malkoha in Sri Lanka is Rhopodytes viridirostris, which is marginally smaller, lacks red on face, has greenish-grey upperparts, grey... read more


Mostly silent, even within mixed-species flocks; main call is “grrr-GRRRRR-GRRRRR-(gt't... read more


Dense forest in wet zone, also riverine forest in dry zone of N & E Sri Lanka, disappearing in... read more

Food and feeding

Previously considered to be primarily dependent on the fruits and berries of forest trees, but caterpillars and other insects (mantids,... read more


Breeds Jan–May; also gonads enlarged Aug–Sept. Nest a deep cup of twigs lined with fresh leaves, grass and roots, often near... read more


Resident, although seasonal altitudinal migrations have sometimes been speculated to occur (if only... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Population currently estimated at 2500–9999 mature individuals within overall range of 36,600 km2, and is considered to be declining. However, other... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus). 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 25 February 2020).