The Black-faced Coucal (Centropus melanops)
The Black-faced Coucal (Centropus melanops) is often heard around our backyard but until today it’s been a challenge to photograph. I was happy to get a few shots of this Philippine endemic cuckoo as it moved around the trees next to the river this morning.
The black-faced coucal (Centropus melanops) is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family. It is endemic to the Philippines and can be found in Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Mindanao. The subspecies Centropus melanops melanops is restricted in range to Dinagat, Siargao, mainland Mindanao and Basilan.
There are six species of coucal found in the Philippines: the Rufous, Black-hooded, Lesser, Greater. Philippine, and the Black-faced coucals. The Philippine Coucal (Centropus viridis) is a common visitor seen daily here but this Black-faced Coucal, while often heard, has been much more difficult to spot.
The Black-faced Coucal’s natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. These pictures were taken just a few meters above sea level.
This species of coucal is 42-48 cm in length and has a long glossy black tail.
This Black-faced Coucal, besides it’s striking namesake coloration, has a call quite distinct from the Philippine Coucal’s familiar sound. The Black-faced Coucal’s call is more similar to that of the Black-hooded which is only found on the Philippine island of Mindoro and is critically endangered.
The Black-faced Coucal is not uncommon within it’s range (but hard to see!) and it’s conservation status is Least Concern.