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Cuckoo Roller
Female or juvenile Cuckoo oller
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Afroaves
Clade: Picimorphae
Clade: Eucavitaves
Order: Leptosomiformes
Sharpe, 1991
Family: Leptosomidae
Blyth, 1838
Genus: Leptosomus
Vieillot, 1816
Species: L. discolor
Binomial name
Leptosomus discolor
(Hermann, 1783)

The Cuckoo Roller (Leptosomus discolor) is the only bird in the family Leptosomatidae, which is usually considered to be within the order Coraciiformes, which also includes the kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. However, the position of this family is not very clear. Morphological evidence may suggest a placement within or near to Falconiformes. In the rather comprehensive DNA study by Hackett et al.[2] this is one of only two birds – besides the Hoatzin – of which the position is not clear, although it seems to be at the root of a group that contains the Trogoniformes, Bucerotiformes, Piciformes and Coraciiformes.

It is also commonly known to English speakers by its French name Courol.[3]

It is a medium-large bird, inhabiting forests and woodlands in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. There are three subspecies; the nominate L. d. discolor is found in Madagascar and Mayotte Island, L. d. intermedius on Anjouan, and L. d. gracilis of Grand Comoro. Based on its smaller size, differences in the plumage, and minor difference in the voice, the last of these is sometimes considered a separate species, the Comoro Cuckoo Roller (L. gracilis).

Other names[]


Similar species[]







  1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Leptosomus discolor. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  2. ^ Hackett, S. et al. (2008) "A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History " Science 320 (5884) 1763 - 1768
  3. ^ Goodman, S (2001) "Family Leptosomatidae (Cuckoo-roller)" in del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors). (2001). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 848733430X


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