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Asian Koel - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 12:04, 26 June 2023 by KeithDickinson-10828 (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: updated VSearch)
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Subspecies E. s. chinensis male
Photo © by anonymous_guy
Lamma Island, Hong Kong

Alternative name: Western Koel

Eudynamys scolopaceus


39–46 cm (15¼-18 in)

  • Bluish-black
  • Pale green bill
  • Red eyes
  • Grey legs and feet


  • Brownish upperparts with white spots
  • Whitish underparts heavily striped and spotted brown
  • Olive or green beak
  • Red eyes


Nominate subspecies male
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Delhi, India, June-2012

Found from southern Asia, China, Indochina to the northern Moluccas (Indonesia).


Formerly considered conspecific with Black-billed Koel and Pacific Koel.


There are 5 subspecies[1]:

  • E. s. scolopaceus:
  • E. s. chinensis:
  • E. s. harterti:
  • E. s. malayanus (dolosa):
  • E. s. mindanensis:
  • Philippines, Palawan, Sulu Archaepelago, Sangihe Island and Talaud Islands and northern Moluccas (Morotai, Halmahera, Ternate, Tidore and Bacan)


Subspecies E. s. malayanus female
Photo © by 996sps
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, February 2007

Light woodland and on the fringes of urban areas, mangrove, scrub, plantations, orchards, gardens, parks, rare in forests



These birds are brood parasites, laying their eggs in nests of Large-billed Crow, House Crow and Black-collared Starling.


Whilst the adults feed mainly on fruit, such as figs, papaya and berries, their diet also includes insects, caterpillars, eggs and small vertebrates.


Nominate subspecies juvenile
Photo © by bankim
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, July 2005

Call: This is most unique. It consists of a series of 'tuhoo's wherein the 'hoo' is slightly drawn out. The repetitions are very quick, one after the other.

Recording by Alok Tewari
Delhi, India, April-2012

Call given by a male, recorded in the neighborhood garden.

Recording by Alok Tewari
Recorded in an urban garden, Delhi, India, May-2018
High pitch burst by a female followed by crescendo of male, and female again in the end.

In Culture

Since the bird is most active just before the onset of monsoon, Indians believe that its arrival heralds the oncoming rains.

In Sri Lanka, they have a strong association with the traditional new year celebrations. In the literature around the festival, the song of the bird is regarded as heralding new year. They are called "koha" by the Sinhala speaking community.


Click images to see larger version


  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. Birdforum Member observations
  3. Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Western Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54832 on 9 April 2020)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1