From the Super Mario Wiki
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They reside on Palm trees and serve as a mini-boss in the game. When Donkey Kong confronts a Cocopī, it will hurl coconuts and chestnuts at him from the tree. If one of the projectiles hits him, Donkey Kong will lose beats (a heart in the New Play Control! version). Donkey Kong can deflect the objects with his Sound Wave Attack, punching one back at the palm tree. Once the tree is hit three times, it breaks apart and the Cocopī is defeated, leaving behind five bananas. The various Hog bosses act similar to Cocopī, and have similarly-structured names in Japanese.
Cocopī appear to have sunburns on most of their bodies, with the areas not affected implying they sometimes wear clothing.