Pheasant Coucal

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Common Name: Pheasant Coucal
Scientific Name: Centropus phasianinus

Size: 19 ½ - 27 ½ inches (50-70 cm)

Habitat: Australia; found in northern and eastern Australia, as well as New Guinea and East Timor. It is found from the Pilbara, Western Australia, to south-eastern New South Wales. In New South Wales it is mainly found east of the Great Dividing Range from the Queensland border to the southern Hunter region, with some around Sydney and further south to Illawarra. The Pheasant Coucal prefers dense understorey vegetation, particularly grasses, rushes, bracken and sedges, in open forests and woodlands, and around wetlands. Often found in sugar cane plantations near wetlands, on farmlands with thick grasses and weed-infested thickets, such as Lantana. Often seen in parks, gardens and along roads or railway lines.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown. Pheasant Coucals have benefited from land clearing where weedy thickets have grown up, especially of Blackberry or Lantana. However have been adversely affected by widening urban development and where overgrazing by livestock has occurred.

Diet: Large insects, frogs, lizards, eggs and young of birds and, sometimes, small mammals.

Nesting: Pheasant Coucals form lasting pairs and, unlike other Australian cuckoos, build their own nests and raise their young themselves. The nest is usually hidden in thick grass or sugar cane or in weedy thickets and is a platform of sticks, grass or rushes, lined with leaves and grasses. The male usually incubates the eggs and feeds the young, with the female helping with feeding. More than one clutch can be laid in one season.

Cool Facts: The Pheasant Coucal is the only Australian cuckoo to build its own nest. It also lives and nests on the ground, unlike other cuckoos.

The Pheasant Coucal's summer voice is a low descending 'boop boop boop'. Its winter voice is a sharp hissing.

Found in Songbird ReMix Australia Volume I

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