Scientific Name: Eudynamys scolopanceus
Name: Asian Koel
Asian Koel is a large cuckoo. Adult male has glossy bluish-black or greenish-black plumage. Wings are relatively short, but tail is rather long. Thick, large bill is slightly down-curved and very pale in colour. Eyes are bright red. Legs and feet are pale grey. Female has smooth brown upperparts, heavily speckled with creamy white. Underparts are cream to whitish, finely barred with dark brown bars. Tail is barred dark grey and white. Crown is darker brown. Bill is pale greenish. Eyes are red. Juvenile resembles female but it has dark eyes. We can find up to 14 subspecies.
Size in cm:
Size in Inch
gray (Bird may have more colors)
Asian Koel feeds mainly on fruits and berries in trees, feasting on the ripe fruits. It also consumes insects and caterpillars. Adults often frequent orchards.
Habit and habited:
Asian Koel lives mainly in dense thickets of trees or bamboos, scattered in the country. It is also found in coastal mangroves’ edges, shrubby areas with tall trees, gardens and woods, towns and villages.
Asian Koel is very vocal. Often heard before seen, it gives its typical insistent call “ko-eeul”, two syllables uttered at intervals or repeated in rapid series, increasing in pitch. Male utters other calls such as “kuhu, kuhu, kuhu”, and loud, harsh whistles. Female has a rhythmic “wook-wook”, and short, shrill whistles.
The Asian Koel is a member of the cuckoo order of birds. Asian Koel is found in South Asia, China, and Southeast Asia. It forms a superspecies with the closely related Black-billed and Pacific Koels. The Asian Koel is a brood parasite that lays its eggs in the nests of crows and other hosts, who raise its young. They are unusual among the cuckoos in being largely frugivorous as adults. The name koel is echoic in origin and the bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry.
The Asian Koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo, 45 cm in length. The male is glossy bluish-black, with a pale greenish grey bill, the iris is crimson, and it has grey legs and feet. The female is brownish on the crown and has rufous streaks on the head. The back, rump and wing coverts are dark brown with white and buff spots. The underparts are whitish, but is heavily striped. The upper plumage of young birds is more like that of the male and they have a black beak.
Asian Koel are very vocal; with a range of different calls during the breeding season which starts in March and ends in August.
They are used as reference in various myth, folklore and poetry being familiar for its loud call. The song of the bird is heard on Traditional New year celebration of Sri Lankans since they believe that it has a strong association with their upcoming year.