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Bali Impressions-Animals in and around your house or Hotel

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Centropus bengalensis, Lesser Coucal

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, Lesser Coucal i, bali, birds, birding,vogels, oiseau
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 specialise 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.
Main features: Medium (38cm); black plumage; wings and back chestnut; eyes red, bill and feet black.
Juvenile and non-breeding adult: head, neck and mantle brown streaked with pale buff; rump and upper tail coverts, blackish barred rufous; tail dark brown glossed with green; underparts buffy with paler streaks. Call: Described as a series of mellow whoops; 3-4 hiccups followed by knocking rattles; sharp 3-note call that sounds like got-to-go; or boot-boot-boot, like their Malay name.
In flight: Low, rapid shallow flapping with long spurts of gliding, seldom raising their wings above the horizontal.
Similar birds: Greater Coucal (C. sinensis): The Lesser is smaller, somewhat paler and has chestnut wing-linings, while the Greater has black wing-linings. Unlike the Greater, when in the breeding the Lesser has pale buff streaking on nape and upper back and appears more streaky and scruffy because the Lesser has very glossy head feather shafts which reflect the light and make them appear almost white. World distribution: India to East Indonesia. Classification: Family Centropodidae. World 30 species, Singapore 2 species. Order Cuculiformes (Cuckoos).
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 faeces.
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 colonise a new patch of lallang and other wastelands.
 

 

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