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Short-toed Coucal Centropus rectunguis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it is restricted to low-lying forest in a region where this habitat type is being cleared and degraded at such a rate that rapid and continuing population declines are likely.

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.

43 cm. Medium-large, forest-dwelling coucal. Predominantly black, glossed purplish blue, with chestnut wings and mantle. Iris red, bill and legs black. Similar spp. Greater Coucal C. sinensis is larger, with proportionately longer tail, black plumage slightly less violet glossed. Voice Ponderous descending sequence of around five deep buup notes, like call of C. sinensis but deeper, slower, more resonant. Hints Search undergrowth of deep forest.

Distribution and population
Centropus rectunguis occurs from extreme southern Thailand, through Peninsular Malaysia to Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak), Brunei and Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatra) (BirdLife International 2001). It appears to be rare in Thailand and Sumatra, but apparently locally fairly common in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Intense logging pressure has led to rapid rates of lowland deforestation across the Sundaic region. As an apparent lowland forest specialist, this species is suspected to be declining rapidly as a result.

It appears to be generally restricted to the undergrowth of lowland evergreen forest, where it occurs at low population densities.

As a lowland forest specialist, this species must be in steep decline from habitat loss. Rates of forest loss in the Sundaic lowlands have been extremely rapid (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of logging and land conversion for agriculture and housing development, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas. Furthermore, the major fires of 1997-1998 affected 50,000 km2 of forest on Sumatra and Borneo.

Conservation Actions Underway
Populations of this species are reported from several protected areas within its range, including Hala Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Thailand), Taman Negara (Malaysia), Similajau National Park (Sarawak) and Gunung Palung National Park (Kalimantan). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys by listening for its call to investigate its altitudinal distribution, ecological requirements and the levels of threat it faces and thereby determine whether any specific conservation measures are required. Provide adequate support for the conservation of relevant lowland protected areas. Lobby for reduced logging of lowland forest in the Sundaic region.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

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
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Centropus rectunguis. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Short-toed coucal (Centropus rectunguis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Species name author Strickland, 1847
Population size 10000-19999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,110,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species