Wataratu Malkoha
Endemic & Threatened Birds in Sri Lanka

Local Name : The Red-Faced Malkoha
Scientific Name : Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus (Pennant)



About the length of Common Coucal, but more slenderly built and with, proportionally, a much longer tail. Sexes alike, except that the female has white irides-those of the male being brown. This handsome bird cannot mistaken for any other species on the Sri Lankan list.

It inhabits tall forest, and lives either solitary, in pairs, or in small flocks. It is shy and restless, a dweller in the tree canopy, where, like the last species, it cleverly threads its way through tangled twigs, creepers and foliage.

The breeding season is in the first half of the year and probably again in August-September. The nest is described as a shallow saucer of grass, roots and twigs, very carelessly put together, and placed in high bushes in forest with thick undergrowth. The two or three eggs are white, with a chalky surface, and they measure about 35.8 X 27 mm. 

The Red-Faced Malkoha is regularly seen at Sinharaja and few other remaining rain forests, frequents associating with feeding waves. It is also found in scattered riverine habitats in the dry zone, such as Lahugala, Wasgamuwa, Manik Ganga and Kubukkan Oya.


Length of body = 8.25  inches(20cm)
Length of wing = 4.2 -4.4  inches
Length of tail   = 3.1-3.5  inches
Length of beak= 1.25  inches


Source: "A field guide to the birds in Sri Lanka - Dr. Sarath Kotagama
"Birds in Sri Lanka" - G.M.Henry  
Gunnar Pettersson

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