Arun P. Nair

Crow-pheasant or Coucal is a clumsy (uppan)

Called uppan in malayalam and in Hindi ‘Mahoka’ , Crow Pheasant or Coucal stands at the height of 48 cms. It’s a clumsy, glossy black bird with conspicuous wings and long, broad, black, graduated tail. One can easily identify it by its deep, resonant coop-coop-coop in the series of six, seven or even twenty.
Sometimes two birds synchronize their call and the entire jungle lightens up with their orchestrated performance. When (probably) not in ‘mood’ the bird also utters a variety of harsh croaks and gurgling chuckles. It affects open forests, grassland interspersed with shrubs where its possible for it to stalk and hide. It can also be seen in villages. It loves to eat caterpillars, large insects, snails, lizards, young mice and eggs of birds. Both the sexes are alike and can be seen singly or in pairs.
The bird is found all over the Indian Union, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. In the Himalayas it can be found upto the height of 2000 meters. Nesting season is from February to September and may vary locally. Its nest is an untidy collection of twigs and branches where three or four glossless eggs are laid.

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