Couas are part of the cuckoo family. These forest birds are found on the island of Madagascar located off the southeastern coast of Africa.


These large, mostly terrestrial birds have brightly colored bare areas around the eyes and silky plumage.

Like all other members of the Cuckoo family, they have large feet with reversible third toes.

Breeding / Nesting

Unlike cuckoos, Couas build their nests out of twigs and leaves that are usually well hidden in trees or bushes; and they incubate their white-colored eggs. A clutch usually consists of 1 – 4 eggs.

They also raise their own young.

Diet / Feeding

Their diet consists mainly of various insects, fruits, berries, seeds, small reptiles, snails, and some small vertebrates such as chameleons.

Blue Coua or Blue Madagascar Coucal (Coua caerulea)Species

  • Ancient Coua, Coua primaeva – prehistoric
  • Bertha’s Coua, Coua berthage – prehistoric
  • Running Coua, Coua cursor: Endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits subtropical or tropical dry forests.
  • Giant Coua, Coua gigas
  • Delalande’s Coua, Coua delalandei – extinct (late 19th century)
  • Coquerel’s Coua, Coua coquereli: Endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits subtropical or tropical dry forests.
  • Red-breasted Coua, Coua serriana: Endemic to Madagascar
  • Red-fronted Coua, Coua reynaudii: Endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
  • Red-capped Coua, Coua ruficeps: Endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits subtropical or tropical dry and moist lowland forests.
  • Crested Coua, Coua cristata
    • Coua cristata maxima – Only known from a single specimen; possibly extinct (late 20th century) or a hybrid.
  • Verreaux’s Coua, Coua verreauxi: – Endemic to Madagascar. This bird species inhabits subtropical or tropical dry shrubland. The continued existence of this species is threatened by habitat destruction. Its name commemorates French ornithologist and collector Jules Verreaux.
  • Blue Coua, Coua caerulea
Crested Coua chick, Coua cristata - Chick begging for food
Gianta Coua
Blue Coua chick (Coua caerulea) - 10 days old
Photo of author

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

We love to hear from our readers. If you have any questions or if you want to get in touch with us, you can find our contact details on our About Us page.

Leave a Comment