Capricorn Coast Birds
  Pheasant Coucal
Centropus phasianinus
Average size 60cm
This is not a true pheasant but a 'pheasant-like', ground-dwelling cuckoo found in northern and eastern Australia, as well as New Guinea and East Timor. They prefer dense under-storey vegetation such as grasses, rushes, bracken, open forests and woodland where they feed on large insects, frogs, lizards, eggs, the young of birds and small mammals. They have adapted well to human settlement and are quite common, you have probably seen them in parks, gardens and along roads and will have noticed their apparent clumsiness, running rather than flying, or flying clumsily before plunging into cover.
Sexes are similar in appearance and when breeding between September and March the head, neck and underbody become black, they form lasting pairs and, unlike other Australian cuckoos, build their own nests and raise their young themselves, the nest is hidden in thick grass or weedy thickets. Like many of our birds more than one clutch can be laid in a season if conditions are suitable, this allows for a rapid recovery of numbers after periods of environmental stress such as droughts.