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Verreaux's Coua Coua verreauxi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is estimated to have a moderately small range, in which habitat degradation is occurring, which along with hunting pressure is inferred to be driving an unquantified decline in the species's population.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

A small, greyish arboreal coua. Overall mid-grey, whitish on lower breast and belly, and darker on flight-feathers. Tail dark greyish, long and tipped whitish on outer feathers. Head with long, dark-tipped crest, pale blue bare skin around eye and black bill. Similar spp. From sympatric Crested Coua C. cristata by lack of orange on breast, dark tip to long crest, and smaller blue patch around eye. Crested Coua is usually found in adjacent taller gallery forest. Hints Rather secretive, found in coastal euphorbia scrub, where it is most active at dawn and dusk. Most easily detected by loud descending series of contact calls, "corick-corick-corick-corick".

Distribution and population
Coua verreauxi has a relatively restricted range in southern and south-western Madagascar, within the southern part of the spiny forest zone. It occurs between the Fiherenana River and the Mandrare River Basin, although it is unclear whether it is continuously distributed within this range (Goodman 2013). Its known range was recently extended north to Salary-Bekodoy Forest (Raselimanana et al. 2012). Few records exceed 40 km inland (Goodman 2013). Within suitable habitat the species can be fairly abundant.

Population justification
The population size of this species has apparently not been quantified.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat degradation and hunting pressure (Goodman 2013), although the rate of decline has not been quantified.

It is a bird of semi-arid thorn scrub where it forages for invertebrates among trees and bushes, also feeding on the ground (Morris and Hawkins 1998). It also feeds on Cassia fruit (del Hoyo et al. 1997) and lizards (Goodman 2013). The species appears to favour thick coastal scrub on coral rag but also occurs outside this habitat, including within degraded areas (ZICOMA 1999). It occurs from sea-level to 100 m (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Males have been observed singing from tree tops in November (del Hoyo et al. 1997), and nests and females in breeding condition have been found from October to April (Goodman 2013).

The species's habitat is threatened by wood-cutting for charcoal production, which is widespread, particularly along roads and near to major towns (Langrand 1990). Hunting is also thought to be having a negative impact on the species (Goodman 2013).

Conservation Actions Underway
Some suitable habitat is protected within reserves (Langrand 1990, Goodman 2013). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Carry out regular surveys to monitor population trends. Monitor rates of habitat clearance and degradation. Increase the area of habitat that is protected in reserves.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Goodman, S. M. 2013. Verreau's Coua Coua verreauxi. In: Safford, R. J.; Hawkins, A. F. A. (ed.), The Birds of Africa. Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region., pp. 543-544. Christopher Helm, London.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Langrand, O. 1990. Guide to the birds of Madagascar. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Morris, P.; Hawkins, F. 1998. Birds of Madagascar: a photographic guide. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Raselimanana, A. P.; Raherilalao, M. J.; Soarimalala, V.; Gardner, C. J.; Jasper, L. D.; Schoeman, M. C.; Goodman, S. M. 2012. Un premier aperçu de la faune de vertébrés du bush épineux de Salary-Bekodoy, à l’ouest du Parc National de Mikea, Madagascar. Malagasy Nature 6: 1-23.

ZICOMA. 1999. Zones d'Importance pour la Conservation des Oiseaux a Madagascar.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Gardner, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Coua verreauxi. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Species name author Grandidier, 1867
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 20,300 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species