Pheasant Coucal

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Centropus phasianinus


Size 60-75cm.

A skulking, mainly ground dwelling, pheasant-like bird. Short legged, long tailed, black body (breeding) or brown body (non breeding) with rufous barred wings and tail. Often seen running across roads or perched on dead trees or fence posts near long grass. Flies clumsily with heavily laboured wing movements.

Feeding Habits

Their diet consists of small reptiles, frogs, large insects, eggs, young birds and crabs snatched from mangroves.


The nest is well hidden in dense grass. It is built by tramping down a clump of plants to form a platform. The tops of surrounding plants are pulled down to form a roof over the nest leaving the sides open. This is the only cuckoo breeding in Australia that builds a nest, incubates and feeds its own young.

Traditional Owner Values

Manbarra Language Name : Poodooran meaning Death in community


When the pheasant flies over your car or flies in front of you, it is a sign that a personal acquaintance or a friend will pass way.

Places to Look

Deeply grassed woodlands, open forests, gardens and roadside verges.


Vulnerable on roads where they are often killed by vehicles.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville

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