Senegal Coucal | Centropus senegalensis

Robert's Birding Information: Senegal Coucal

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

The description for the Senegal Coucal (Latin name Centropus senegalensis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Centropus senegalensis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 390 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 218. You will find a picture of the Senegal 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 Senegal Coucal between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Senegal Coucal has a height of 39 cms and weighs around 170 gms. The head is coloured blue, black while the bill is coloured black. The Centropus senegalensis has a white coloured throat, black legs and a blue, black coloured back. The eyes are red.

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 red.

Bill is black.

Legs are black.

Throat is white.

Back is blue, black.

Senegal Coucal Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Senegal Coucal is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage.

The Centropus senegalensis 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 Senegal 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 Senegal 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.

Senegal Coucal Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Senegal 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 5 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 Senegal 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.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

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

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.