The Chestnut-breasted malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) is a type of cuckoo species with a clown-like appearance that often catches the attention of travelers. These birds are commonly found in Southeast Asia, particularly in Borneo, the Philippines, eastern Java, and Myanmar. According to sources, the largest individuals can grow up to 49 cm or 19 inches long. These cuckoos have a distinctive look due to their bright red faces, pale eyes, and pale upper and red lower mandibles. They also have varying colorations, from dark glossy greenish above to rich chestnut-brown below. They move slowly and blend in with the thick foliage found in subtropical and tropical mangrove forests, as well as moist lowland forests. Chestnut-breasted malkohas are known to venture into lowland and hill forests to forage alongside other species.
While male Chestnut-breasted malkohas usually have pale blue irises and females often have yellow ones, they both have similar feather patterns. Unlike most cuckoos, these birds don’t lay their eggs in other birds’ nests but instead build their own nests and raise their own young. Breeding season varies depending on location, running from August to December in Borneo and from January to September in Southeast Asia.
The male and female birds pair up and proceed to build a nest using small sticks and twigs, measuring around 35 cm (14 inches) in diameter. The nest also includes a leaf-lined cup or depression that measures about 11 cm (4.3 inches) in diameter and 5 cm (2.0 inches) deep. After laying a few matte white eggs measuring 34 x 28 mm, both parents take turns incubating them until they hatch approximately 13 days later. The young birds are fed by both parents before spending around 11 days inside the nest before venturing outside for the first time.
These creatures are known as Singaporeans. They mainly feed on small vertebrates like lizards, frogs, beetles, bugs, crabs, and even young birds. Their varied diet ensures that they don’t lack any essential nutrients, leading to healthy growth and reproduction. The chestnut-breasted malkoha was discovered and named by English scientist George Shaw in 1810 after obtaining a bird from western Java. This species is currently quite common and not considered endangered as there is no evidence of any significant threats or declines in population.
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