Rufous Coucal Centropus unirufus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is thought to be undergoing a moderately rapid and continuing decline owing to habitat loss, and as a result it is considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon and local (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Trend justification
This species occurs in lowland primary and secondary forests and within its range clearance of forest habitat has undoubtedly led to population declines; however, these are not thought to have been more than moderately rapid, because the species will tolerate secondary growth.

Distribution and population

Centropus unirufus is endemic to Luzon and its satellites, Polillo and Catanduanes, in the Philippines, where it is uncommon and local (Collar et al. 1999).


It appears to be a resident of lowland and hill forest with tangled undergrowth, but it persists well in mature secondary growth, selectively logged and degraded forest, and even prefers bamboo areas. However, it is not found outside larger connected forest areas and does not occur in small unconnected forest patches, monoculture forest plantations or shrub land (M. van Weerd in litt. 2016). Is is a very vocal species, living in groups of 3-10 birds, sometimes in mixed groups with other species (M. van Weerd in litt. 2016).


Being found only in fairly large connected lowland forest, this species may be threatened by the actual and potential destruction and fragmentation of forest, primarily through agricultural expansion in the form of small-holder farming and plantation agriculture, as well as logging and mining operations (M. van Weerd in litt. 2016, J. van der Ploeg in litt. 2016). This may be occurring even in protected areas, where environmental law enforcement is weak. The largest protected area where the species is still common, the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, is currently threatened by road construction and development (M. van Weerd in litt. 2016). The species is not deliberately hunted or collected but might sometimes be caught in bird traps or be killed by indiscriminate hunters (M. van Weerd in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
This species is nationally protected under the Philippines Wildlife Act. While there are no specicific conservation programmes for this species, its forest habitat is protected in several protected areas in the northern, central and southern Sierra Madre, the Zambales Mountains and the Cordillera Mountains (M. van Weerd in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect areas of lowland forest within the species's range. Enforce restrictions on agricultural encroachment and logging within such protected areas. Generate density estimates to inform a revised population estimate for the species. Estimate population trends by calculating rates of forest loss within its range using satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques.


Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Bird, J., Benstead, P., Westrip, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Centropus unirufus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/02/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/02/2020.