Centropus bengalensis

Written by on April 12, 2012 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

 Centropus bengalensis, Lesser Coucal, Bubut Alang-alang

Coucals feed on large insects, frogs, lizards, snakes. They hunt these among the undergrowth, using their powerful bills to catch and kill their prey. Centropus-bengalensis-01-400

Coucals are rather terrestrial, preferring to walk than fly. They emerge in the open only in the early morning. The rest of the day, they forage on foot in tall grass. When disturbed, they make a short flight with shallow wing beats and brief glides into cover. They then scuttle away on foot. They are strong runners and have straight hind claws and are sometimes called “lark-heeled cuckoos”.

Lesser Coucals are mostly solitary, only rarely seen in pairs. They specialize in more open grasslands (lallang and other tall grasses) both dry and marshy, while the Greater Coucals (C. sinensis) are found in thickets.

Breeding: Lesser Coucals have a courtship ritual of offering each other titbits like a leaf or grasshopper.

Although they are members of the cuckoo family, Lesser Coucals do not lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. They build their own nests. These are usually well concealed and comprise a large globe (18 x 25cm) made of twigs or grass (blades and stems) with a large entrance hole to one side. The nest is sometimes lined with green leaves and grass.

They build in open grasslands, close to the ground, incorporating tall grass stems into the nest. Less frequently, low in bushes or trees.

2-3 white eggs are laid in December-July. Hatchlings are black skinned with long bristly down. Like other Coucals, when disturbed, the chicks squirt out copious amounts of foul-smelling liquid faces.

The Coucals have the head and bill of a crow, but long tail feathers of a pheasant. In fact, in the past, they were known as crow-pheasants.

Status and threats: Lesser Coucals have adapted well to open grasslands and secondary growths that result from human interference. They are often the first to colonize a new patch of lallang and other wastelands.

Tags: , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

Top