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Species Guide

Green-billed Coucal

Centropus chlororhynchos

The Green-billed Coucal, Centropus chlororhynchos, presents a striking figure in the avian world. This medium to large bird measures approximately 43 cm in length. It boasts a regal purple-black head and body, with the wings exhibiting a rich maroon hue on the upper side and a deep black below. The long tail is a dark green, complementing the bird's overall coloration. A distinctive light green bill sets this species apart, making it a visual treat for the keen observer.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Green-billed Coucal, look for its unique light green bill, which is a standout feature. Both sexes appear similar, with the juveniles being somewhat duller and exhibiting streaking. This species is slightly smaller and less contrasted than its relative, the Greater Coucal. Despite its size and distinctive features, the Green-billed Coucal can be elusive due to its preference for dense habitats and its shy nature.


The Green-billed Coucal is a denizen of the tall rainforests that grace the southwest of Sri Lanka. It is here, amidst the lush greenery, that this bird finds refuge and sustenance.


Endemic to Sri Lanka's wet zone, the Green-billed Coucal is a species that has carved out a niche for itself within this specific geographic locale.


This bird is known for its retiring nature, often making it a challenge to spot within the dense rainforest habitat it calls home. Despite its size and a distinctive call, the Green-billed Coucal remains a master of concealment.

Song & calls

The Green-billed Coucal's call is distinctive, adding an auditory signature to its presence within the rainforest.


The Green-billed Coucal nests in bushes, with a typical clutch consisting of 2 to 3 eggs. This reproductive strategy ensures the continuation of its lineage within the rainforests of Sri Lanka.

Diet and Feeding

A wide range of insects, caterpillars, and small vertebrates comprise the diet of the Green-billed Coucal. However, it shows a particular fondness for snails, which are a favorite among its food choices.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Green-billed Coucal as Vulnerable. The small population of this species has been in decline, primarily due to the destruction and fragmentation of its forest habitat. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of this unique bird.

Similar Species

The Green-billed Coucal can be compared to the Greater Coucal, although it is somewhat smaller and exhibits less contrast in its plumage. The distinctive light green bill and the bird's specific habitat preferences help differentiate it from similar species.

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Green-billed Coucals on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Jamie BT
18 Mar 2019 - 7:33am
Sri Lanka

More Cuckoos

A photo of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis
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