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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Burchell's Coucal

Afrikaans name: Gewone Vleiloerie

Burchell's Coucal

Burchell's Coucal

Photo © Steven Herbert

Centropus burchellii

The Burchell's Coucal is a biggish bird which is around 40 cm in length. They weigh about 180 grams. Apparently females are slightly larger than males.

It is found along the coast from Cape to Kosi Bay. It is also found in the eastern and north-eastern region of the country.

This species preys on insects, small mammals such as mice and smaller birds. It occasionally eats fruit.

Although the Burchell's Coucal is related to the cuckoo it doesn't exhibit cuckoo breeding behaviour. It makes a nest and raises its own chicks.

Some people call this bird the 'rain bird' as they associate its call with the onset of rain.

The Burchell's Coucal may be seen sunning itself in the early morning. It perches in a bush with its back to the sun and spreads its wings slightly.

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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 110

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 84

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 42

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 104

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 181

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 341

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 337

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 240

The Doves, Parrots, Louries & Cuckoos of Southern Africa - Author: M.K. Rowan - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 384

List of South African Birds

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