Large (Indian) cuckooshrike

   ›      ›   Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei

The large cuckooshrike (Coracina macei) belongs to the family of trillers, minivets and cuckooshrikes, Campephagidae.

The large cuckooshrike species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. These cuckooshrike species are mainly insectivorous and will take large hairy caterpillars. These Indian cuckooshrikes are polytypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Large (Indian) Cuckooshrike Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Large (Indian) cuckooshrike - Overview

  • Scientific name: Coracina macei
  • Species author: (Lesson, 1830)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Graucalus Macei Lesson, 1831
  • Family: Campephagidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Large cuckooshrike, Chinese: 大鹃鵙, French: Échenilleur de Macé, German: Maskenraupenfänger, Spanish: Oruguero indio, Russian: Большой сорокопутовый личинкоед, Japanese: オオオニサンショウクイ
  • Other names: Indian cuckooshrike, Black-throated Cuckooshrike
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, China, Taiwan
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The large (Indian) cuckooshrike (Coracina macei) is a medium-large arboreal birds with long and slender body, measuring 25 to 30 cm in length.

The overall plumage of these Indian cuckooshrike species is shades of gray. The upperparts, including upperwing-coverts are gray. The rump and the uppertail coverts are pale gray. The uppertail is blackish gray.

The lores connect the region between the nostrils and eyes and extend a little beyond the eyes and are blackish. The underparts are pale gray. There is fine striations on the chin, throat and breast. The undertail is gray.

The bill is massive, hooked and grayish black in color. The irises are dark brown. The feet are dark gray. The call of these Indian cuckooshrike species is a loud "kleep" and "klu-eep" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei
1.Indian birds - Image of Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei by Subramanya C K

Indian birds - Photo of Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei
2.Indian birds - Picture of Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei by Websumanta

Indian birds - Image of Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei
3.Indian birds - Photo of Large cuckooshrike - Coracina macei by nbu2012

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The large cuckooshrike species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

In India, except for the arid regions, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, these large cuckooshrike species are distributed in all the states.

The large cuckooshrike nominate subspecies Coracina macei macei is distributed south of Indian Himalayas. The subspecies C. m. layardi is distributed in Sri Lanka.

The Indian cuckooshrike subspecies C. m. nipalensis is distributed in Lower Indian Himalayas, Nepal, Sikkim and west Assam. The Indian subspecies C. m. andamana is distributed Andaman Islands.

The large cuckooshrike subspecies C. m. rexpineti is distributed in southeast China (Fujian, Guangdong and Yunnan), Taiwan and northern Laos. The subspecies C. m. larvivora is distributed in southern China (Hainan).

The subspecies C. m. siamensis is distributed in southwest China (Yunnan), Myanmar, peninsular Thailand, Cambodia, southern Laos and southern Vietnam. The subspecies C. m. larutensis is distributed in peninsular Malaysia.

Ecosystem and habitat

These large cuckooshrike species have moderate forest dependence. These species normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 2000 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these Indian cuckooshrike species include cultivated fields, rural gardens, teak and pine plantations and heavily degraded forests.

The natural ecosystems of these large cuckooshrike species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, evergreen forests, tropical and subtropical dry forests, tropical and subtropical moist shrublands, open wooded country, moist montane forests and dry savanna.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the large cuckooshrike consists mainly of large insects. Large hairy caterpillars, crickets, spiders, locust, grasshoppers, dragonflies, moths, mantids, stick insects, weevils, worms, grubs, termites and beetles are their primary food.

These Indian cuckooshrike species glean insects from foliage and also from trunk and branches. They fly just above the forest canopy and hawk flying insects.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the large cuckooshrike species is from January to November in Indian subcontinent. The breeding season is in April and May in myanmar. The laying season is from March to May in peninsular Malaysia.

These large cuckooshrike species are monogamous and highly territorial and the territories are maintained year round. The breeding pair take part in nest building, incubating and raising the young ones.

A compact, cup-shaped nest is built on a fork of a tree. The typical Indian cuckooshrike clutch contains four blotchy eggs. The chicks hatch out in 14 days. Both parents brood the chicks and also feed them.

Migration and movement patterns

These large cuckooshrike species are non-migrant resident birds.

Post breeding, the juvenile Indian cuckooshrikes may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the large cuckooshrike (Coracina macei) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these species is reported to be stable.

Throughout its range this species is reported to be rare to common. The generation length is 4.6 years. Its distribution size is about 3,300,000

Habitat degradation and fragmentation, decline in insect populations due to indiscriminate use of pesticides are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these Indian cuckooshrike species.

IUCN and CITES status

The large cuckooshrike (Coracina macei) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the cuckooshrike species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for Indian cuckooshrike (Coracina macei).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Coracina macei
Species:C. macei
Binomial name:Coracina macei
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The eight recognized subspecies of large (Indian) cuckooshrike are: Coracina macei macei, Coracina macei layardi, Coracina macei nipalensis, Coracina macei rexpineti, Coracina macei andamana, Coracina macei siamensis, Coracina macei larutensis and Coracina macei larvivora.
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1.Photos source: (cropped)
Photo author: Subramanya C K | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Photos source: (cropped)
Photo author: Websumanta | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Photos source: (cropped)
Photo author: nbu2012 | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 8/29/17
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