The Red-fronted Coua is territorial during the breeding season. Some displays have been observed. The female was collecting nest-materials, accompanied by the male. It offered a caterpillar to the female and attempted copulation.

The species is resident on the island.
It has short wings and rarely flies. However, if alarmed, it performs a short flight to reach the vegetal cover. It is very terrestrial and usually prefers climbing, walking or running.

The breeding season occurs between August and January.
The Red-fronted Coua builds a bowl-shaped nest with leaves, palm fibres and sticks, between 30 cm and 7 metres above the ground in Pandanus or tree ferns, or on fallen logs or low branches in trees, about 1-2 metres above the ground.
The female lays 2-3 whitish eggs. Incubation and nestling periods are unknown.

The Red-fronted Coua is relatively common throughout the range, especially at high elevations. It is reported in more than 30 localities.
In spite of restricted range, the population appears to be stable.
The Red-fronted Coua is not globally threatened, and currently evaluated as Least Concern.

Fr: Coua de Raynaud
Ang: Red-fronted Coua
All: Rotstirn-Seidenkuckuck
Esp: Cúa Frentirrojo
Ita: Cua fronterossa
Nd: Reynauds Coua
Sd: rödpannad koua
Mal: Fandikalalana, Koa, Taitohaka, taitso


Jean Michel Fenerole
Photos d’Oiseaux du monde

Dubi Shapiro
Dubi Shapiro Photo Galleries & Dubi Shapiro's Pictures on IBC

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 4 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334229

Cuckoos of the World Par Johannes Erritzøe, Clive F. Mann, Frederik Brammer, Richard A. Fuller – Editeurs A&C Black, 2012 – ISBN: 1408142678, 9781408142677

The Cuckoos Par Robert B. Payne – Editeur : OUP Oxford, 2005 – ISBN : 0191513555, 9780191513558

Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands Par Roger Safford, Adrian Skerrett, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1472924118, 9781472924117- Editeur: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015

Wildlife of Madagascar par Ken Behrens,Keith Barnes - ISBN: 140088067X, 9781400880676 – Editeur: Princeton University Press, 2016

Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide Par Pete Morris, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 0300077556, 9780300077551- Editeur: Yale University Press, 1998

The Birds of Africa: Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mascarenes - Par Roger Safford, Frank Hawkins – ISBN: 1408190494, 9781408190494- Editeur: A&C Black, 2013

Avivase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

HBW Alive



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Red-fronted Coua
Coua reynaudii

Cuculiformes Order – Cuculidae Family

The Red-fronted Coua is endemic to Madagascar where it occurs in N and E of the island. This terrestrial coua frequents the dense vegetation in undisturbed rainforest and thick second growths, but also brushy areas and clearings. It feeds on insects and spiders, fruits and some lizards, by walking slowly on the forest floor. In spite of its terrestrial habits, it nests in trees.
The Red-fronted Coua is apparently fairly common throughout the range, and the species is not globally threatened.   

Length: 38-40 cm
Weight: M: 128 g – F: 163 g

The Red-fronted Coua has dark grey-green to olive-green upperparts, with blue wash on the green wings and tail, and dark tips to the rectrices.
The underparts are dark grey with darker lower belly and undertail-coverts.

On the head, the crown is rufous, giving the bird its name. The face is blackish and contrasts with the blue patch of bare skin, mostly ultramarine blue around and in front of the eye, and sky blue behind the eye. This patch is surrounded by a black line. The eyering is blue.
The bill is black. The eyes are brown. Legs and feet are dark grey.
Male and female are similar.

The juvenile has dull rufous-brown head and neck and dull brown nape. The back is dull olive-brown whereas the rump is rufous with black bases to feathers. The upperwing feathers have rufous tips and black subterminal bands. The tail is dull grey-brown with blue gloss.
On the underparts, the throat is grey, the breast is dull rufous while lower breast and belly are greyish-brown. It has dull facial skin and yellow bill.   

The Red-fronted Coua occurs in N and E Madagascar, and is reported in more than 30 localities.

The Red-fronted Coua frequents the humid forest, the undisturbed rainforest with dense vegetation, thick second growths, areas with fallen trees and branches, brushy areas, clearings, and even the dry forest in W of the range. The species occurs from sea-level to 2,500 metres of elevation.


The Red-fronted Coua gives a long, guttural rattle becoming stronger and louder “krrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” or a harsher ‘kkkkkkkkkkkk”. It also utters repetitive, short, raucous, plaintive “koo-ah” and a sharp “jick” possibly as alarm call, used while mobbing predators.

The Red-fronted Coua feeds primarily on various insects and spiders, but it also consumes fruits, eggs of reptiles and probably some lizards.

It forages by walking slowly on the forest floor, in forest clearings and adjacent habitats, or along roads and trails, searching for prey in dense vegetation. It catches the prey with the bill.
It also moves and feeds on low branches or creepers, walking up sloping trunks and perching in trees.

The Red-fronted Coua may climb onto low branches for resting, foraging and sunbathing, up to 18 metres above the ground. It can be seen alone, in pairs or in family groups, depending on the season.