• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Greater Black Coucal - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Ivory-billed Coucal; Greater Coucal (which may lead to confusion with Centropus sinensis)

Centropus menbeki


60 - 67cm. A large, black Coucal.

  • Glossy black plumage
  • Long tail
  • Red eye
  • Whitish bill with black base
  • menbeki darker above, aruensis dark purplish black above, jobiensis more greenish

Sexes similar. Juveniles are dull blackish and have rufous bars at base of tail.


Endemic to New Guinea and some adjacent islands.
Widespread but uncommon in its range.


Forms a superspecies with Violaceous Coucal and Goliath Coucal.


There are 3 subspecies[1]:

  • C. m. menbeki:
  • New Guinea, western Papuan islands and Numfor Island
  • C. m. jobiensis:
  • Yapen Island (Geelvink Bay off northern New Guinea)
  • C. m. aruensis:
  • Aru Islands


Found in forest, at forest edge and in shrub. Occurs from sea-level up to 800m.



Feeds on small vertebrates including snakes, frogs and small birds, takes also arthropods and large insects. Forages on the ground with clumsy movements, in vines and on tree trunks where it switches its tail from side to side.


Recently fledged juveniles recorded in January and October. The nest is a large mass of leaves, placed in a pandanus tree.


This is a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334221
  3. Avibase

Recommended Citation

External Links