Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae

Scientific name: Taccocua leschenaultia, Lesson, 1830

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Sirkeer Malkoha is also known as Sirkeer Cuckoo.


Sirkeer Malkoha is 40-45 cms long and weighs 160-175. The adult bird has sandy brown head, neck, throat and upperparts. The breast and belly region are sandy-rufous. The long tail is brown and has white tips. The bill is cherry red with yellow hooked tip. The irises are black and feet are pale gray. Both the male and female look similar. The juvenile birds are duller.


The diet of Sirkeer Malkoha consists mainly of insects. Caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, mantis, lizards, locust, caterpillars, cicadas, termites are their primary food. They also feed on berries and fruits. They forage mainly on the ground during day time solitarily or in pairs. Sometimes they glean prey from the foliage and branches of trees also.


Sirkeer Malkoha has moderate forest dependence. The habitats of this bird include lowland forests, secondary forests, shrub lands, and coffee, tea and rubber plantations. In India they are distributed throughout the region except the North East states and arid areas of Rajasthan. They are also found in some areas of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

Breeding season of Sirkeer Malkoha is from June to September. They are generally monogamous and territorial. The nesting sites include thorny bushes or fork and branches of short trees. The nest is a shallow saucer of twigs and sticks, lined with green leaves and is built by both parents. Normally two white eggs are laid. The Incubation and neonatal care is done by both parent birds.


The call is an occasional shrieking “kek…kek…kek” or a subdued “bzuk…bzuk” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Blue Faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris).
  • Green Billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis).
  • Chestnut Breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris).
  • Red Billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus javanicus).
  • Yellow Billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus calyorhynchus).
  • Taccocua leschenaultia leschenaultii of South India and Sri Lanka.
  • Taccocua leschenaultia sirkee of Pakistan and Northwest India.
  • Taccocua leschenaultia infuscata of sub-Himalayan India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Migratory Behaviour

Rare Resident.