Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Near Threatened

Violaceous Coucal (Centropus violaceus)


French: Coucal violet German: Purpurkuckuck Spanish: Cucal violáceo
Other common names: Violet Coucal

Centropus violaceus

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Carteret Harbour, New Ireland


Appears to be part of a clade which includes also C. bernsteini and C. phasianinus#R. Previously thought to be closest to C. menbeki and C. goliath. Monotypic.


New Britain and New Ireland, in Bismarck Archipelago.

Descriptive notes

64 cm; 500 g. Adult black with violet sheen, tail broad, bare skin around eye greyish, eye-ring black, iris red, bill black, feet pale slaty-horn. Juvenile dull black above,... read more


Deep, hollow booming notes and loud booming duets.


Occurs in primary forest from lowlands up to 950 m.

Food and feeding

Large insects, including stick insects almost 18 cm long; also frogs and tiny snails. Active in limbs of trees and vines.


Nest a loose structure of twigs, built in top of a tall tree. Eggs 3, white; 42·5 x 34 mm. Nestling has black skin, long white... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Virtually no information available on status, as range comprises zone of extremely limited ornithological... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2018). Violaceous Coucal (Centropus violaceus). 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 18 March 2018).