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Javan Coucal Centropus nigrorufus
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This species has a small population which is inferred to be in on-going decline owing to habitat destruction and trapping. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

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.

46 cm. Medium-large, marsh-dwelling coucal. Adult glossy black above with purplish gloss on mantle. Rufous wings with blackish tips to flight feathers and upperwing-coverts. Long black tail and purplish gloss to blackish underparts. Red iris, black bill and feet. Similar spp. Lesser Coucal C. bengalensis smaller, iris dark brown, duller rufous (including mantle), often streaked white. Greater Coucal C. sinensis larger, mantle also rufous. Voice Undocumented, but probably a series of hollow notes, like many congeners. Hints: Scan wetlands in early morning when this species perches on tops of reeds or bushes.

Distribution and population
Centropus nigrorufus is endemic to Indonesia, where it occurs on Java, and possibly Sumatra (from where there is one specimen of doubtful origin and recent unconfirmed sight records) (BirdLife International 2001). It is locally common, but rather sparsely distributed, although it may be under-recorded. It can still be found in suitable habitat right along the north Java coast, and a very isolated population is still found at Maura Angke (N. Brickle in litt. 2007, 2012), which is completely surrounded by Jakarta. The relatively high numbers on sale in markets and displayed in zoos (often exceeding C. sinensis) suggest it may be more common and well-distributed than records suggest.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
There are few data on trends, but the on-going loss and degradation of suitable habitats and the large number of birds recorded in trade implies that the species is undergoing at least a moderately rapid decline.

It is a sedentary resident of mangroves and associated swamps (particularly comprising Acrostichium, Saccharum, Imperata and Nypa spp.) in the coastal lowlands. It occurs in freshwater swamps and grassland scrub adjacent to brackish water swamps (possibly suboptimal habitats), although it appears to be excluded from mature stands of Rhizophora and Bruguiera by C. sinensis, occupying fringing habitat instead. It has also been recorded in teak forest and well inland.

The main threat appears to be the destruction and degradation of mangroves and swamps as a result of widespread conversion to fishponds and agricultural land, and reclamation for urban expansion and industrialisation. Suitable habitat on Java is now fragmented. It is also threatened by widespread trapping, giving rise to concern that local population extinctions might ensue.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species has been recorded in some protected areas, including Baluran National Park (M. Iqbal in litt. 2013, B. van Balen in litt. 2013), Ujung Kulon National Park, and Segara Anakan and Muara Angke Nature Reserves. However, some of these are either only partly suitable for the species (Ujung Kulon), very small and isolated (Muara Angke) or subject to high pressure from outside (Segara Anakan). In addition, at least four proposed reserves support populations, including Muara Gembong, Tanjung Sedari, Muara Cimanuk, Ujung Pangkah and perhaps Muara Bobos.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to assess the importance of known sites and to locate populations, particularly in Segara Anakan and on the north coast of Nusa Kembangan island, where much suitable habitat exists (D. L. Yong in litt. 2014). Research further its habitat requirements and particularly the importance of mangrove swamps to its survival. Establish further protected areas where appropriate, either in their own right or as extensions to existing reserves. Investigate the possibility of habitat restoration at heavily disturbed sites. Afford full legal protection and promote public awareness campaigns to reduce snaring of birds in coastal swamps.

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

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

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., Davidson, P., Mahood, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Tobias, J.

Brickle, N., Iqbal, M., Robson, C., Wilson, D., Yong, D. & van Balen, B.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Centropus nigrorufus. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 Vulnerable
Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Species name author (Cuvier, 1817)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 28,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species