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Black-billed Koel - BirdForum Opus

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Photo © by julienl
Gunung Ambang, Sulawesi, May 2018

Alternative name: Eastern Koel

Eudynamys melanorhynchus


39–46 cm (15¼-18 in)


  • Black plumage with blue-violet gloss
  • Black bill
  • Red eye


  • Polymorphic
  • Some females like males but with more blue-green gloss
  • Other females black-barred rusty-fawn below with throat and breast blackish or grey
  • A third group with barred rufous and black upperparts and blackish bars on underparts

Juveniles are all black or like black-and-buff females but with black head to throat.


Black-billed Koel is limited to Sulawesi and Sula Islands.


Black-billed Koel with two subspecies were split from Asian Koel and Australian Koel by some authorities, however, others still think that the best treatment is to consider all three as one species which would then be named Common Koel, Eudynamys scolopacea.


There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • E. m. melanorhynchus:
  • E. m. facialis:
  • Sula Islands


Moist lowland forests. Also plantations, orchards and gardens in towns and villages.
From sea-level up to 1500m.



Feeds on fruit. Takes also sometimes insects, snails and flower nectar.
Forages in the canopy.


A brood parasite. Known hosts are Slender-billed Crow, Sulawesi Crested Myna, drongos and orioles.


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. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. 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

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