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Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, นกกระปูดเล็ก

The Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It has a wide distribution range that overlaps with several other similar species. The habitat in which it is found is often marshy land with grass and tree cover. It is distinguished by its smaller size, less prominent bill, pale shaft streaks on the feathers of the head and back.

It has a much longer claw on its hind toe and a distinct call. It is also among the few coucals that show season plumage differences but like in other coucals, the sexes cannot be distinguished in the field.

Distribution and subspecies variation
The species is widely distributed west from the Indian subcontinent (but not in Sri Lanka despite an old report of a skin of doubtful provenance) extending east across Southeast Asia. Slight differences in size and plumage are noted in different parts of their range and several subspecies have been designated.

The nominate form is found from India to Thailand. Subspecies lignator described by Swinhoe in 1861 is larger and found in southeastern China and Taiwan. Subspecies javanensis described by Dumont in 1818 is smaller and found across the larger islands along the Malay Peninsula extending east to the Philippines.

Some island forms are larger and these include sarasinorum described by Stresemann in 1912 and found on Sulawesi, the Sula Islands, Lesser Sundas and Timor. The form on the Moluccas, medius described by Bonaparte in 1850, is the largest.

Some other subspecies like philppinensis from the Philippines and chamnongi from Thailand are not always recognized and are thought to form either variants or intermediate plumages. The population patchily distributed in the Western Ghats of southern India may constitute a distinct subspecies.

Range map from

Range map
Range map from - Ornithological Portal is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there

Taxonomy and systematics
In the past, this species was lumped along with the Malagasy coucal (Centropus toulou) but comparison of DNA sequences suggest that the lesser coucal is more closely related to the black coucal (Centropus grillii) and Philippine coucal (Centropus viridis) than to any other relatives.

This slightly smaller-sized and shorter-billed coucal has a very long hind claw, the longest within the genus. The overall plumage, as in many other coucals, is of a blackish bird with a long tail and rufous wings. They have two plumages, a breeding plumage in which the head and upper back are glossy with dark shafts to the feather and a duller non-breeding plumage in which the feather shafts on the head and back are whitish.

The wing coverts also have pale shafts showing as whitish streaks on the brown feathers. The central upper tail coverts are barred and very long. The iris is darker brown and not the crimson red as in the greater coucal. Juveniles have black spots, bars and have a browner colour.

Length: 31 - 34 cm
Distinctive Feature

Similar Species

From opus at
Female / Male / Juvenile

• Sexes alike, females larger. Juveniles are dark brown above, light rufous barred, streaked rufous on head and back, have buffy-white shaft-streaks and are whitish buff below with paler shaft streaks and bars.

From opus at

Greater VS Lesser Cucoual

• Lesser Coucal has black iris, Greater has red iris.

• Size, but for me it is impossible to see the difference unless the birds are next to eachothers

• Habitat. Lesser is unusual away from grassland or hillside habitats, Greater tends to prefer areas with some shrubs.

• Mantle/wing colour. Lesser tends to be slightly paler/greyer in tone than Greater, which is usually very strongly rufous-chestnut.

• Lesser has a very distinctive winter plumage (pale, streaked), which cannot be confused with Greater, but seems to be even shyer and harder to see in winter!

• Call/ Song But in most cases you do not hear them call.

Listen to the Lesser Coucal

Behaviour and ecology
The lesser coucal is found singly or in pairs low in the undergrowth in marshy or grassy areas adjoining forest. They appear to be found mainly in lowlands. Like other coucals, they are not brood-parasitic cuckoos. They nest from May to September but mainly after the rains in June in India, building a dome of grass blades on a low tree.

The usual clutch is 3 eggs in India, 2 in Southeast Asia and 4 in Taiwan. The calls of the lesser coucal include a series of low double "whoot-woot" or "kurook" notes that increase in tempo and descend in pitch. The Indonesian name of dudut is onomatopoeic.

Conservation status
Conservation status
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sighted: (Date of first photo that I could use) 15 June 2020
Location: Kaeng Krachan NP--Hin Lad

Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, นกกระปูดเล็ก
Lesser Coucal / นกกระปูดเล็ก - 15 June 2020 - Kaeng Krachan NP--Hin Lad

Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, นกกระปูดเล็ก
Lesser Coucal / นกกระปูดเล็ก - 15 June 2020 - Kaeng Krachan NP--Hin Lad

Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, นกกระปูดเล็ก
Lesser Coucal / นกกระปูดเล็ก - 3 July 2020 - Kui Buri National Park

Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis, นกกระปูดเล็ก
Lesser Coucal / นกกระปูดเล็ก - 3 July 2020 - Kui Buri National Park

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