Couas are large, mostly terrestrial birds in the cuckoo family, endemic to the island of Madagascar. Their name Coua is an onomatopoeic rendering of the call note of some species.

They are reminiscent of African Turacos when walking along tree branches, and like them feature brightly coloured fleshy areas around the eyes. Some resemble Coucals in their habit of clambering through plant tangles while foraging. The arboreal species move between tree canopies with gliding flight. Four species occur(red) in rainforests while the remaining six are found in the dry forests of western and southern Madagascar.

They have large feet, with a reversible third toe like all cuckoos. Their long tibia suggest a relationship with the Carpococcyx Ground-Cuckoos of Asia, a genus with similar nestlings. Consequently they are sometimes united in the subfamily Couinae. Couas build their own nests and lay white eggs. Couas' calls are short series of evenly spaced notes, which are sometimes answered by other individuals.



  • Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands, Sinclair and Langrand, 1998. ISBN 1 86872 035 7
  • The Cuckoos, Robert B. Payne and Karen Klitz, 2005. ISBN 0 19 850213 3

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