Bird

Crested Coua

Area: 
Madagascar
Habitat: 
Forests, savannas, and brushlands
Food: 
Insects, snails, and fruit
Size: 
18 to 24 inches long
Babies: 
2 to 3 eggs in a nest; chicks hatch with closed eyes and few feathers.
Couas are a type of cuckoo bird.

 

Coo, Coo, Coua!

 

With bright blue skin around its eyes and a crest of feathers on its head, you might think a coua is easy to spot. Yet both those things help it blend in the shadows of the trees and bushes of its habitatWhere an animal or plant normally lives and grows..

 

Crested couas are not very strong fliers. They can flap from the ground into a tree, but they don't fly long distances. As they walk along tree limbs, couas use their long tail for balance. Their third toe can be reversed to point backward, giving couas a good grip on a branch.

 

A female coua makes a nest of twigs in a tree or bush and lays two eggs. The male and female take turns keeping the eggs warm. Both parents feed the chicks that hatch. Coua chicks make the feeding job a little easier for their parents: bright red and white markings on the inside of the chick's mouth look like a bull's-eye. These markings show the parents where to put the food!