The Red-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus) belongs to the family Cuculidae which includes all the species of cuckoos and their allies. This family is noteworthy for their slender hawk like appearance, parasitic behaviour and monotonously repeated calls. The species in the genus Phaenicophaeus, are non-parasitic (they build their own nests to raise their brood) and are generally silent with an occasional beak rattle and hiss.
There are three species of Malkoha’s in Sri Lanka: the Blue faced Malkoha, the Sirkeer Malkoha and the Red-faced Malkoha. The Red-faced Malkoha is endemic to Sri Lanka; however, there are anecdotal reports of this species occurring in the Western Ghats. This is yet to be justified with solid evidence.