Turaco

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2023-07-18 Snargl 0 minute 0 second

What is the animal Turaco known for?

The turaco is a bird family endemic to Africa.
You can find them in lush forests and savannas throughout the continent below the Sahara Desert.
These birds are excellent on their feet, they walking and running on branches and over twigs.

One of the most distinctive features of the turaco is its colorful plumage.
Turacos have green feathers that contain a unique pigment called turacoverdin, which is not found in any other living bird.

Another characteristic of the turaco is its crest, which varies in shape and size among different species.
Some have long and pointed crests, while others have short and rounded ones.

Turacos are frugivorous, meaning that they mainly eat fruits, especially figs.
They also consume leaves, buds, flowers, and some insects.
They have a unique foot arrangement, where the fourth toe can be switched back and forth.
Turacos are weak fliers, but strong climbers and jumpers.

Turacos are social and noisy birds, which live in family groups of up to 10 individuals.
They are non-migratory, but may move locally in response to food availability.
They have loud and piercing calls, which can alert other animals to the presence of predators.

Turacos have a rich cultural and symbolic significance for many African people.
They are also important for the ecosystem, as they disperse seeds.
Turacos are threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and trapping for the pet trade.
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Where does the Turaco live?

Some examples of turacos and their habitats are:
  • The great blue turaco ( Corythaeola cristata ) is the largest and most colorful turaco, with a blue body, yellow bill, red crest, and green wings.
    It lives in lowland rainforests and gallery forests in Central and West Africa, where it feeds on fruits, flowers, and buds.
  • The violet turaco ( Musophaga violacea ) is a striking bird with a glossy purple body, yellow bill, red crest, and crimson wings.
    It inhabits coastal and riverine forests and woodlands in West Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria, where it eats fruits, berries, and insects.
  • The Fischer's turaco ( Tauraco fischeri ) is a green and blue turaco with a red bill, yellow crest, and white eye patches.
    It lives in coastal and montane forests and woodlands in East Africa, from Somalia to Tanzania, where it feeds on fruits, seeds, and flowers.
  • The white-bellied go-away-bird ( Criniferoides leucogaster ) is a gray and white turaco with a black crest, red bill, and long tail.
    It inhabits dry savannas, woodlands, and scrublands in East and Southern Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa, where it eats fruits, seeds, and leaves.
    It is called a go-away-bird because of its loud alarm call that sounds like "g'way, g'way".
Turacos are endemic to Africa, which means they are only found there and nowhere else in the world.

They are an important part of the ecosystem, as they help disperse seeds and pollinate plants.

They are also admired for their beauty and cultural significance, as some African tribes use their feathers for ornaments and rituals.
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What does the Turaco look like?

A turaco is a type of bird that belongs to the family Musophagidae, which also includes plantain-eaters and go-away-birds.

Turacos are native to sub-Saharan Africa, where they live in forests, woodland, and savanna.

They are known for their colorful plumage and unique pigments, which give them bright green and red feathers.

Turacos are medium-sized birds, ranging from 40 to 75 cm (16–30 in) in length.

They have long tails and short, rounded wings, which make them weak fliers, but strong climbers.

They can move nimbly on branches and through vegetation, using their semi-zygodactylous feet.

This means that they can switch their fourth toe back and forth, or even join it with their second and third toes.

Turacos are gregarious and non-migratory birds, which move in family groups of up to 10.

They are mostly frugivorous, feeding on fruits, especially figs, but they also eat leaves, buds, and flowers.

They are noisy birds, with loud and distinctive calls, which vary among species.

Some of them, such as the go-away-birds, have alarm calls that sound like "go away", which alert other animals to the presence of predators.

Turacos build large stick nests in trees, and lay two or three eggs.

The chicks are born with thick down and open eyes, and are cared for by both parents.

Turacos have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years in the wild, and up to 30 years in captivity.

Turacos are among the most beautiful and fascinating birds in Africa, and have a cultural significance for many people.

They are often featured in art, folklore, and mythology, and are considered symbols of good luck, peace, and prosperity.

Some of the most common and popular species of turacos are:
  • Great blue turaco: The largest and most colorful turaco, with a blue body, yellow bill, red crest, and green wings.
    It lives in the rainforests of central and western Africa.
  • White-bellied go-away-bird: A gray and white turaco, with a long tail, a black crest, and a bare patch of skin around the eye.
    It lives in the savannas and woodlands of eastern and southern Africa.
  • Guinea turaco: A green and red turaco, with a yellow bill, a white stripe on the face, and a red crest.
    It lives in the forests and woodlands of western and central Africa.
  • Violet turaco: A purple and yellow turaco, with a red bill, a white stripe on the face, and a red crest.
    It lives in the forests and woodlands of western Africa.
  • Livingstone's turaco: A green and blue turaco, with a yellow bill, a white stripe on the face, and a red crest.
    It lives in the montane forests of eastern and southern Africa.
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