Unsorted Wild Birds

Crested Couas

The Crested Couas (Coua cristata) are also known as Crested Madagascar Coucas.

Alternate (Global) Names

Chinese: ????? … Czech: Kukal korunkatý, kukalka chocholatá … Danish: Toppet Silkegøg … Dutch: Kuifcoua … Spanish: Cúa Crestada, Cúa Crestado … Estonian: tutt-siidkägu … Finnish: Töyhtökuku … French: Coua huppé … German: Spitzschopfcoua, Spitzschopf-Seidenkuckuck … Italian: Coua dalla cresta, Cua crestato … Japanese: kammurijikakkou, kanmurijikakkou, ?????????, ????????? … strong>Malagasy: Abosanga, Tivoka, Tokambolo, Tsikokofotsy, Tsiloko, tsipara … Norwegian: Toppkoa … Polish: kuja czubata … Russian: ???????? ?????????????? ??????? … Slovak: koa chochlatá … Swedish: Tofscoua


As is suggested by its common name, this species is endemic to Madagascar where it is common.

It occurs in forests, savanna and brushland areas, from sea-level to altitude of 3,000 feet (~t 900 meters).

Subspecies and Ranges

  • Coua cristata cristata (Linnaeus, 1766) – Nominate Race
    • Range: Northern and eastern Madagascar, southwest to the district of Mahajanga situated on the north-west coast of Madagascar.
    Coua cristata dumonti (Delacour, 1931)
    • Range: Western Madagascar from Mahajanga to Morondava.
    Coua cristata pyropyga (Grandidier, 1867)
    • Range: Southwestern Madagascar between Morondava and Toliara, also south to Amboasary located in southeastern Madagascar.
    Coua cristata maxima (Milon, 1950)
    • Range: Southeastern Madagascar (near Tolagnaro).


They are medium-sized, measuring about 17 inches or 44 cm in length. The plumage is mostly greenish-grey with a grey crest.

Like all couas, they have blue bare skin patches around the eyes. The chest is rufous-colored, the abdomen is white, and the long purplish-blue tail feathers have white tips.

The eyes are brown. The bill and legs are black.


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

Breeding / Nesting:

Unlike cuckoos, Crested Couas build their own nests out of twigs, and incubate their own white-colored eggs. A clutch usually consists of two eggs. They also raise their own young. The nests are usually well hidden in trees or bushes.

Coua Information and Listing of SpeciesCoua Photo Gallery

Article (in English and German): Captive Breeding of Couas at the Weltvogelpark Walsrode in Germany / Aufzucht von Seidenkuckucken im Weltvogelpark Walsrode


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.

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