Majestic Azure: Unraveling the Enigmatic Beauty and Elegance of the Blue Coua Bird in the Tropical Wilderness


This large, dark, and long-tailed tree-dwelling bird, much like its fellow couas, is marked by its inquisitive and restless nature. It typically opts for agile movements, hopping or flopping through the trees, but occasionally engages in impressive gliding flights, accentuated by sporadic explosive wingbeats.

Meet the Blue Coua:

The Blue Coua (Coua caerulea) is a sizable bird adorned in deep blue plumage throughout its body. Its wings and tail glisten with a violet sheen. Atop its blue head, a brief crest is visible. The area around its eye is encircled by exposed skin, ranging from cobalt-blue to violet in coloration. Its bill is black, while its eyes exhibit shades of brown to reddish-brown. Its legs and feet are tinged with blackish hues.

“Coua caerulea (Blauer Seidenkuckuck – Blue Coua) – Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2013-02” by Olaf Oliviero Riemer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Both males and females share similar appearances.

In contrast, juvenile Blue Couas display sooty-black plumage on their back, rump, and lower belly. Their wings take on a more subdued shade of blue, lacking the striking violet iridescence seen in adults. Notably, the skin around their eyes is covered in feathers, rather than being bare.

“Blue Coua – Andasibè – Madagascar_S4E7927” by fveronesi1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Blue Coua is an endemic species of Madagascar, predominantly found in the eastern and northwestern regions of the island.

“0I7A8127.jpg” by Murray Foubister is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

This bird frequents primary rainforests, secondary growth, deciduous forests, and mangroves. It is also spotted in plantations like clove and cacao but typically avoids dry forests. Its habitat ranges from sea level to 1,800 meters in elevation, with the highest prevalence below 1,200 meters in southeastern Madagascar.

“Coua caerulea (Blauer Seidenkuckuck – Blue Coua) – Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2013-01” by Olaf Oliviero Riemer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This bird’s diet comprises various insects, chameleons, crabs, frogs, fruits, and flowers. It’s an arboreal species that actively forages from treetops to undergrowth but predominantly occupies the midstorey. It is often solitary or seen in pairs, forming small family groups after the breeding season. Courtship displays involve male courtship feeding, which is typical in Cuculidae birds.

“Coua caerulea (Blauer Seidenkuckuck – Blue Coua) – Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2013-03” by Olaf Oliviero Riemer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Blue Coua breeds between July and December, mainly during the rainy season. It constructs its own nest using sticks, typically placed in dense foliage between 3.5 and 10 meters above the ground. The female lays a single white egg, and both adults participate in incubation and chick feeding. Specific incubation and nestling durations are not well-documented.

“Coua caerulea (Blauer Seidenkuckuck – Blue Coua) – Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2013-04” by Olaf Oliviero Riemer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

While the Blue Coua is considered common in suitable habitats, it faces threats such as hunting by local communities for food and habitat destruction, which has impacted its range. Despite these challenges, it is not currently categorized as globally threatened.

“blue coua” by Dao Nguyen and James Hardcastle is licensed under CC BY 4.0. (cropped)

Listen to this bird next:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=AVkbDEYFdNw%3Ffeature%3Doembed



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