Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Western Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)


French: Coucou koël German: Indischer Koel Spanish: Koel occidental
Other common names: Asian Koel, Common Koel

Cuculus scolopaceus


, 1758,

Malabar, southern India


Usually considered conspecific with E. orientalis. Birds on Andaman and Nicobar Is are sometimes recognized as race dolosus, being small and the female having large rufous spots above, but overlap in characters occurs with malayanus of Malaysia and Sumatra. Race simalurensis sometimes subsumed within malayanus, and frater within mindanensis. Proposed races paraguena (Palawan) and onikakko (Mindoro) synonymized with mindanensis. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. s. scolopaceus (Linnaeus, 1758) – Pakistan, India and Nepal S to Sri Lanka, Laccadives and Maldives.
  • E. s. chinensis Cabanis & Heine, 1863 – S China and Indochina; winters S to Borneo.
  • E. s. harterti Ingram, 1912 – Hainan.
  • E. s. malayanus Cabanis & Heine, 1863 – E India and Bangladesh, through Myanmar, Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Lesser Sundas (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores); winter visitor to Andaman and Nicobar Is#R.
  • E. s. simalurensis Junge, 1936 – Simeulue and offlying islands of Kokos and Babi (off NW Sumatra).
  • E. s. frater McGregor, 1904 – extreme N Philippines (Calayan and Fuga).
  • E. s. mindanensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – Philippines S to Talaud Is and Sangihe Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    39–46 cm; 136–190 g, female 234 g (scolopaceus); 202–242 g (malayanus). For differences from previously conspecific E. orientalis... read more


    Loud and noisy, but less vocal in winter; calls early, starting before dawn. Female has call like a... read more


    Open forest, coastal swamp forest, edge and scrub, gallery forest, riverside scrub, plantations (e.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, including figs (Ficus), berries of Morus, Zizyphus, papaya (Carica papaya) and other fruiting... read more


    Breeds Mar–Aug (mainly May–Jun) in India and Pakistan, Apr–Aug in Sri Lanka, Feb–Apr in Malaysia, and nearly year-... read more


    Resident or makes irregular movements, e.g. of five ringed at Point Calimere, S India, in Dec, all... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). A widespread species with range extending to remote islands in Indian Ocean, e.g. Maldives and Laccadives. Common through much of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Western Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus). 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 13 December 2019).