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Green-billed Coucal Centropus chlororhynchos
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This coucal's population and range are small, declining and severely fragmented as a result of the destruction and degradation of humid forest. It therefore qualifies 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.

Taxonomic note
Centropus chlororhynchos (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously listed as C. chlororhynchus.

Centropus chlororhynchus

43 cm. Medium-large coucal with blackish head, body and tail and maroon-brown wings. Green bill can appear ivory. Similar spp. Greater Coucal C. sinensis has black bill and shows more striking contrast between chestnut wings and black body. Voice Sonorous mournful hooo-poop or hooo-poo-poop, the poop lower-pitched than the hooo. Sometimes utters a single note chugh reminiscent of a call given by the endemic Toque macaque Macaque inica.

Distribution and population
Centropus chlorohynchos is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is confined to the wet zone in the south-west of the island (BirdLife International 2001). Its population is poorly known, but appears to have declined and become increasingly fragmented since the late 19th and early 20th century, and it is absent from some sites where it formerly occurred. It is unlikely that its population exceeds a few thousand individuals.

Population justification
The population is unlikely to number more than a few thousand individuals, based on available records and survey results, thus there are assumed to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. It is placed in 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
On-going illegal logging of wet zone forests is the principal threat to this species and is suspected to be driving a continuing, moderate population decline.

It is found in high-stature, undisturbed, wet zone forests with a dense understorey (often of bamboo) mainly below 760 m. There are a few records from human-modified habitats surrounded by forest but it appears generally intolerant of habitat modification. It will use forest corridors to move between good quality habitat patches but many of these have been cleared. It feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates and also frogs, lizards and fruit, and is thought to breed from January-July, and possibly at other times of year.

The main threat is the extensive clearance and degradation of forests, particularly in the wet zone, through logging, fuelwood-collection, conversion to agriculture and tree plantations, gem mining, settlement and fire. Some protected forests continue to be degraded and suffer further fragmentation, for example Ingiriya Forest Reseve, where it is declining because of illegal logging. Competition with Greater Coucal C. sinensis, which occurs in logged and disturbed areas, may be contributing to its decline.

Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Sri Lanka, and a moratorium was passed in 1990 to protect wet zone forests from logging. It occurs in several national parks and forest reserves, most notably Sinharaja National Heritage Wilderness Area. A survey of the biodiversity of 200 forest sites was carried out during 1991-1996. Conservation Actions Proposed
Research its distribution, abundance and ecology, in particular to improve understanding of its habitat requirements and to identify appropriate forest-management regimes. Research the possible effects of competition with C. sinensis. Maintain the current ban on the logging of wet zone forests. Encourage protection of remaining important areas of forest holding this and other threatened species, including proposals to designate conservation forests, and ensure their effective management. Promote programmes to create awareness of the value of biological resources amongst local communities.

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., Bird, J., Crosby, M., Peet, N., Taylor, J. & Symes, A.

de Silva Wijeyeratne, G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Centropus chlororhynchos. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 Blyth, 1849
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 12,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species