Black Coucal | Centropus grillii

Roberts Birding Information: Black Coucal

The Black Coucal is a Southern African bird that belongs to the centropodidae bird family group which includes birds such as Coucals.

The description for the Black Coucal (Latin name Centropus grillii) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Centropus grillii can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 388 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 216. You will find a picture of the Black 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. The Latin name for this bird is Centropus bengalensis in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Black Coucal is known in Afrikaans as Swartvleiloerie.

The Black Coucal has a height of 35 cms and weighs around 100 gms. The head is coloured blue, black while the bill is coloured yellow. The Centropus grillii has a brown coloured throat, blue, grey legs and a blue, black coloured back. The eyes are grey.

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 blue, black.

Eyes are grey.

Bill is yellow.

Legs are blue, grey.

Throat is brown.

Back is blue, black.

Black Coucal Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

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

Black Coucal Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Black 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 6 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 is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Black Coucal is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.