Scientific Name: Centropus phasianinus
The pheasant coucal is not a pheasant but a longed-tailed relative of the cuckoo with rufous barred wings and tail. In summer the head is black and in winter it is brown. It measures 60cm in length, about half of which is tail. The males and females are similar in colouration.
The pheasant coucal inhabits woodlands and long grasslands, swamps and marshes over coastal areas of northern and eastern Australia. They are secretive birds usually heard rather than seen. The call is a distinctive 'oop, oop' repeated many times increasing in pitch and speed.
The diet mainly comprises insects, spiders, lizards and frogs, though some vegetable matter is also taken.
Although it is related to cuckoos, the coucal does not parasitize the nest of other birds. Instead these birds build a hooded or roofed nest which is open at both ends, so when the bird enters the nest its head and tail protrude from each end of the nest. It lays 3-5 white eggs in the nest measuring 38 x 29mm in size. Incubation takes only two weeks and the young leave the nest after a further 12-15 days.
The pheasant coucal is most commonly seen running across the ground or perched on fence posts or dead trees. When it is disturbed it will fly with laboured wing beats.