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Sep 25, 2008

Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus)

  Unlike a cuckoo however, it lives in a nest on the ground and doesn't do the whole "kill your children and steal their identity" thing. That



The marvellous bird shown in the photograph below is apparently a Pheasant Coucal (also known as a Swamp Pheasant). You would think, at least from the perspective of a nominative determinist that it would be a pheasant, and yet it is not. It is in fact a member of the cuckoo family. 

This is the Pheasant Coucal I encountered the other day
A Pheasant Coucal....or is it?


Unlike a cuckoo however, it lives in a nest on the ground and doesn’t do the whole “kill your children and steal their identity” thing. That is because Pheasant Coucal babies are totally freaky and no one would believe they gave birth to one of them for even a second. Even stupid birds are not that stupid.

That is not a hat, it is growing there.
That is not a hat! It is growing there!


The ground based nest of the not a pheasant Pheasant Coucal is just big enough to go over the top of the adult bird with their head and tail sticking out each end. This is an extremely silly bird, that creeps about like a cat, flies badly, says “booop boop booop” but only in the summer, has mutant babies and lives in a comedy nest.

Here is one we prepared earlier.


An actual Pheasant Coucal
An adult Pheasant Coucal

The very sensible Jason Wilson who commented on yesterday’s post suggested it was a Pheasant and he was right. Well done Jason. He also said that “The best thing about them is that when they travel downhill quickly they can’t quite keep their footing and just sort of roll.”

This is very funny and lends further credence to the “comedy bird” theory. 

Christine Johnson suggested I was lost and that it was possibly a rock dove pigeon or some laundry. Both quite plausible but no….

Anyway, the Pheasant Coucal was having a lovely time and so am I.

P.S.I borrowed the photo of the adult (the good one) off Tom Tarrant an internationally renowned twitcher and bird photo guy but I couldn’t find an email address for him. If anyone sees Tom, please let him know I would like to speak to him about it. The photo of the mutant baby Coucal is from the very brave Ibsut on Flickr.



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8 thoughts on “Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus)

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  2. Christine Johnson

    That’s good news about a pheasant coucal in your Dad’s yard. Did he come home and go “oh, that’s no passerine or arboreal creature it’s our common old garden coucal”? I bet he then said “Let’s light a fire in the leaves near the day bed so it can catch its tea when all the other critters run from the smoke”. He must make David Attenborough look silly. By the way if you’re bored you and your Dad should go down to the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal and help everyone the native miner spotted a couple of days ago. When it gets caught in the Magnetic trap it’s going to be euthansed. But you dont need to tell us about the ending.

  3. leigh@crikey

    It sorta looks like Ryan Griffen…

  4. Brenton

    Apologies to the Pheasant Coucal as a species!!!!!

  5. Jason Wilson

    First dog – glad to be right about something. I am really happy to be able to see them up close in these photographs! Usually when I’ve encountered them they’ve just been a blur of feathers rolling down a hill.

  6. Cait Calcutt

    or crawling rather than calling may be best, unless your iphone has a bird call imitation application

  7. Cait Calcutt

    Yes, this is a pheasant coucal. The photo is not too clear, but it appears to be in breeding colours. We used have a pair living in our Brisbane backyard. Coucals like to build nests in dense undergrowth, tree hollows and similar – may be you will find more if you call into the shrubbery…

    Pheasant Coucals are much more attractive (and intelligent?) than Janet Albrechtsen.

  8. Brenton

    Are you sure that these are not photos of Janet Albrechtsen???

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