Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Lesser coucal

Thai: นกกระปูดเล็ก, nok kra-pud lek

Binomial name: Centropus bengalensis, Johann Friedrich Gmelin, 1788

The lesser coucal (Centropus bengalensis) is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family. 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.

Description

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.

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.

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.

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.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Cuculiformes
Family
Cuculidae
Genus
Centropus
Species
Centropus bengalensis

Common names

  • Thai: นกกระปูดเล็ก, nok kra-pud lek

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Lesser coucal, Centropus bengalensis in Thailand
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Ban Chang District, Rayong
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Bueng Khong Long Non-hunting Area
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Khun Tan National Park
  • Doi Lang
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hat Yai District, Songkhla
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Khro District, Chaiyaphum
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khanom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Laem Ya National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Ko Phra Thong
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Laem Son National Park
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Fa Luang District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Tha, Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mu Ko Chang National Park
  • Mu Ko Lanta National Park
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Han Lake
  • Nong Prue District, Kanchanaburi
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Pa Sak Chonlasit Dam Non-hunting Area
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phra Phrom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Phu Chi Fa Forest Park
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Kradueng National Park
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Pran Buri Forest Park
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Samae San Island
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Si Maha Phot District, Prachinburi
  • Sirinat National Park
  • Sop Prap District, Lampang
  • Su-ngai Kolok District, Narathiwat
  • Taksin Maharat National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thai Mueang District, Phang Nga
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wang Noi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Wiang Lo Wildlife Sanctuary

Range map of Centropus bengalensis in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook.