Coppery-tailed Coucal | Centropus cupreicaudus

Robert's Birding Information: Copperytailed Coucal

The Coppery-tailed Coucal is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Centropodidae bird family group which includes birds such as Coucals.

The description for the Coppery-tailed Coucal (Latin name Centropus cupreicaudus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Centropus cupreicaudus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 389 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 217. You will find a picture of the Coppery-tailed Coucal on page 209.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Coppery-tailed Coucal between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Coppery-tailed Coucal has a height of 47 cms and weighs around 280 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Centropus cupreicaudus has a white coloured throat, black legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are crimson.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black.

Eyes are crimson.

Bill is black.

Legs are black.

Throat is white.

Back is black.

Copperytailed Coucal Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Coppery-tailed Coucal strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Centropus cupreicaudus attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Coppery-tailed Coucal eats the eggs of its victim.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Coppery-tailed Coucal uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Coppery Tailed Coucal Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Coppery-tailed Coucal is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The Coppery-tailed Coucal is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The Coppery-tailed Coucal is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Coppery-tailed Coucal is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.