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Blue-headed Coucal - BirdForum Opus

Photo by megan perkins
Kisumu, Kenya, December 2006
Centropus monachus


45–52 cm (17¾-20½ in)

  • Crown and nape black with bluish iridescence in good light
  • Chestnut lower back and wings

Similar species

Larger and with less chestnut wings than Senegal Coucal; Smaller than Coppery-tailed Coucal and has unbarrred uppertail coverts.


Photo by whiteheadedvulture
Accra, Ghana, April 2016

Africa south of the Sahara to Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.



Centropus monachus has three subspecies[1]:

  • C. m. occidentalis:
  • C. m. fischeri:
  • C. m. monachus:


Photo © by whiteheadedvulture
Accra, Ghana, 10 September 2020

Dense undergrowth in papyrus swamps and habitats close to water.



Its nest is oval with a side entrance, built from sedges and grasses and lined with green leaves.


As well as carrion, they eat reptiles, amphibians, snakes, birds and their eggs; also rodents, insects and snails.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Kenya Birds
  3. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154

Recommended Citation

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