Burchell's coucal (Centropus burchellii), is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It is found in sub-Saharan Africa. It inhabits areas with thick cover afforded by rank undergrowth and scrub, including in suitable coastal regions. Common names include gewone vleiloerie in Afrikaans and umGugwane in Zulu. It is sometimes considered a subspecies of the white-browed coucal. It is named after the British naturalist William John Burchell.
This common resident of southern Africa is usually seen as a solitary individual or in pairs. They prefer clambering through thickets in bushveld, marshes, riparian fringes or coastal bush. It is more often heard than it is seen. When it does fly, the flight is ponderous and ends with a long glide to the next thicket.
This bird has a distinctive call, which resembles water pouring from a bottle, and various other calls such as the "dove" call and an alarm hiss. The birds are most vocal in the breeding season, and a couple may call in duet, or several birds may call in concert.
Between September and February (austral summer) a large matted nest is normally made in a thorn tree. Usually four white eggs are laid, and these hatch out after 14 to 18 days. Both parents feed the nestlings for another three weeks.
Burchell's coucal is predatory, stalking through thick bush and eating insects (including Orthoptera), snails, amphibians (frogs and toads), reptiles (including lizards and chameleons) and birds up to the size of a laughing dove. Nests of other birds are often raided.
Sunning and preening with exposed uropygial gland
- Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 1996. pp. 337–338. ISBN 0620175834.
- Erritzøe, Johannes; Mann, Clive F.; Brammer, Frederik; Fuller, Richard A. (2012). Cuckoos of the World. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 174–176. ISBN 978-1-4081-4267-7.
- "Centropus burchellii (Burchell's coucal)". Retrieved 13 December 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)