Not pheasant, nor a crow

I don’t know who wrote which part of the Wikipedia article on the Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis), but the statement “They sunbathe in the mornings singly or in pairs on the top of vegetation with their wings spread out” is absolutely correct. That’s how I saw this one individual whose photos you see in this post. The Coucal is often called a Crow Pheasant, but it is neither; it is a non-parasitic cuckoo.

It is extremely widespread; I’ve seen it in Mumbai, in Kerala, in Assam, and this sighting was in Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur. It is found further east all the way to the Philppines, but northwards is restricted to the Yunnan province of China and southwards to the northern parts of the Malay peninsula. The coucal is one of the few birds in which males perform most of the work in building nests, incubation, and feeding the young. Consistent with this, the females are larger in size. The reason seems to be that they depend on seasonally available food, and the female, which lays many eggs, has to spend more time foraging for food.

I hadn’t got a good photo of a coucal for several years, but this individual seemed to welcome paparazzi. It went about its sunbathing without paying any attention to watchers. I got in several good shots, a sample of which I post here in the hope that some unscrupulous tabloid offers to buy the whole set off me. Baby you’ll be famous, I’ll chase you down until you love me.

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