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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Ordo: Cuculiformes

Familia: Cuculidae
Genus: Coua
Species: C. caerulea - C. coquereli - C. cristata - C. cursor - †C. delalandei - C. gigas - C. reynaudii - C. ruficeps - C. serriana - C. verreauxi

Coua Schinz, 1821

Das Thierreich 1: 661

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Seidenkuckucke
English: Couas
français: Coua
Türkçe: Coualar

Couas are large, mostly terrestrial birds of the cuckoo family, endemic to the island of Madagascar.

Reminiscent of African turacos when walking along tree branches, they likewise feature brightly coloured bare skin around the eyes. Some resemble coucals in their habit of clambering through plant tangles while foraging, while the arboreal species move between tree canopies with gliding flight. Four species occur (red) in rainforests while the remaining six are found in the dry forests of western and southern Madagascar.

They have large feet, with a reversible third toe like all cuckoos. Their long tibia suggest a relationship with the Carpococcyx ground-cuckoos of Asia, a genus with similar nestlings. Consequently, they are sometimes united in the subfamily Couinae.[1] Couas build their own nests and lay white eggs. Couas' calls are short series of evenly spaced notes, which are sometimes answered by other individuals.


The genus Coua was erected by the Swiss naturalist Heinrich Rudolf Schinz in 1821 with the giant coua (Coua gigas) as the type species.[2][3] The name is from koa, the Malagasy word for the couas.[4]

There are nine extant species placed in the genus:[5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Running coua (Coua cursor).jpg Coua cursor Running coua Madagascar.
Giant Coua (Coua gigas) (9616274364).jpg Coua gigas Giant coua western and southern Madagascar
Coquerel's Coua RWD3.jpg Coua coquereli Coquerel's coua Madagascar.
Coua serriana Red-breasted coua Madagascar.
Red-fronted Coua - Andasibè - Madagascar MG 0718 (15102020980).jpg Coua reynaudii Red-fronted coua Madagascar.
Red-capped Coua RWD2.jpg Coua ruficeps Red-capped coua Madagascar.
Coua cristata (Hauben-Seidenkuckuck - Crested Coua) - Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2013-08—130718 0206.jpg Coua cristata Crested coua Madagascar.
Coua verreauxi.jpg Coua verreauxi Verreaux's coua Madagascar
Coua caerulea (Blauer Seidenkuckuck - Blue Coua) - Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2013-04.jpg Coua caerulea Blue coua Madagascar.

Fossils and Extinct species

Ancient coua, Coua primaeva – prehistoric
Bertha's coua, Coua berthae – only known from Holocene fossil remains[6]
Delalande's coua, or the snail-eating coua Coua delalandei – extinct (late 19th century)


Payne, Robert B., and Karen Klitz (1991). The Cuckoos. Oxford University Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-19-850213-3.
Cuvier, Georges; Schinz, Heinrich Rudolf (1821). Das Thierreich, eingetheilt nach dem Bau der Thiere als Grundlage ihrer Naturgeschichte und der vergleichenden Anatomie (in German). 1. Stuttgart und Tübingen: J.G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung. p. 661.
Peters, James Lee, ed. (1940). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 4. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 64.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Turacos, bustards, cuckoos, mesites, sandgrouse". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 July 2019.

Goodman & Ravoavy; Smithsonian Institution (1993). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 106. Smithsonian Libraries. [Washington : Biological Society of Washington]. pp. 26–33.

Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands, Sinclair and Langrand, 1998. ISBN 1-86872-035-7

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