Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fascinating Birds: The Attractive and Colorful Turacos of Africa

The only birds that own true red and green color and mobile outer toes, capable of rotating forward or backward! Meet the attractive and colorful turacos of Africa.

Meet another set of fascinating birds – the attractive and colorful turacos of Africa. They are the only birds that own true red and green color! Aside from their distinctive “g’way” call, turacos proud themselves by having beautiful crests, red feathers on the underside of their wings and mobile outer toes, capable of rotating forward or backward. Isn’t these birds fascinating? Read on to learn more about them.

The White-cheeked Turaco

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The White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) distribution range covers South East Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. It prefers humid evergreen forests at elevations from 2200 to 3200 meters. Citing have also been observed below 850 meters. A medium-sized bird, it measures 43 cm (17 in) long, with a tail reaching 19 cm (7.5 in) in length and weighs 200–315 g (7.1–11.1 oz).

Known for its dynamic behavior and colorful appearance, white-cheek Turaco sports a striking, blue-green crested head, with white patches in front of eye and side of neck. Overall plumage is green, with deep greenish-blue wings and tail. It has red eye rings and a bright orange-red beak. Its diet includes fruits, berries, insects and occasionally small lizards.

The Ruspoli’s Turaco

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The Ruspoli’s Turaco (Tauraco ruspolii), also called as Prince Ruspoli’s, is another very attractive species of turaco widespread in subtropical or tropical dry forests of southern Ethiopia. One of the world’s rarest birds, the species exhibit a colorful plumage. The head, neck, and breast are moss-green in color. It has a distinctive grayish-white crest, crimson-colored bill, and a prominent long tail. Furthermore, the chin and throat is grayish-green; dark bluish-gray wings and tail; yellowish-green cheeks and ear covers; and blackish belly and thighs.

The Knysna Turaco

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The Knysna Turaco (Tauraco corythaix), also called Knysna Lourie in South Africa, is a large turaco, endemic to South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. The species prefers mature evergreen forests from sea level to 1800m. Adults measure between 40–42 cm long, from beak to tail and weigh between 260-380g. Generally, this unmistakable bird comes with mainly green plumage. Its distinctive feature is the white tip on its rounded green crest. Eyes are brown in color with deep-red eye-ring. It has a short, sharply curved orange-red beak. A colorful and attractive bird, it feeds on earthworms, insects and fruits.

The Livingstone’s Turaco

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The Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) is found in the subtropical lowlands and humid forests of southeastern Africa. Similar in appearance with the Knysna Turaco and Schalow’s Turaco, this attractive bird can be distinguish from both birds by its distinctive loud calls. On average, the species is about 45cm long including the tail and weighs about 262-380 grams. A dominant feature of the Livingstone’s Turaco is its white-tip, raised crest measuring around 65-75mm long. This species feeds mainly on available fruits.

The White-crested Turaco

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The White-crested Turaco (Tauraco leucolophus) are near-passerine birds endemic to eastern Nigeria and western Kenya. They prefer open woodland and riverine forests. The species is easily recognized by its striking white crest, chin, neck and nape. Overall body plumage is dark blue mark with lime green feathers on its breast. It feeds mainly on fruits but also eats flowers, buds, insects and snails.

The Red-crested Turaco

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The Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) is a medium-sized passerine bird endemic to western Angola. On average, it measures between 47.5-50 cm (19-20 in) from beak to tip of tail and weighs 210-325 g. The species has green body plumage, characteristic tall, red crest, red eyes, yellowish-green beak and long tail. Its diet includes: fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers and occasionally snails.

The Purple-crested Turaco

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The Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus) is widespread from Uganda through Tanzania inhabiting evergreen forests and moist woodland. This bird sports a purple-colored body plumage with red flight feathers. The green head is adorned with a purple-colored crest. The throat and neck are green and brown. It has black eyes with red rings, orange beak, long blue tail, and black legs. On average, the Purple-crested Turaco measures 45 centimeters and weighs around 300 grams. It feeds mainly on fruits.

The Violet Turaco

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The Violet Turaco (Musophaga violacea) is a large species of turaco, endemic to the forests of tropical West Africa. The species is usually “seen” among the tree foliage foraging for fruits, berries, buds, and leaves. It measures around 45-50 cm45 cm long, including a long tail and weighs up to 360 g. Adults have an overall blue-black plumage, yellow forehead, crimson crown, dark-brown eyes, and red bill.

The White-bellied Go-away-bird

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The White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) is a medium to large species of turaco native to Central and South Africa. It inhabits evergreen forests, well-wooded areas and dry acacia savannas. This attractive bird measures 51 cm (20 inches) long including the tail and weighs around 170-200 grams. The overall plumage is gray with characteristic white breast and white-patched, black tail. It has small head, short bill, and medium-sized neck. Males sport black bill while females have green one. A very noisy bird, it feeds mainly on fruits.

The Great Blue Turaco

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The largest member of the Turaco family. the Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata), lives in sub-Saharan Africa. An arboreal species, it prefers rain forests and gallery forests. Generally, it measures 70–76 cm (28–30 in) long and weighs 800 –1,231 g (1.8 –2.71 lb.) It has an overall bright-blue body plumage mark with blue and yellow tail feathers. It has a sturdy body, short wings and long tail. This colorful and attractive turaco feeds mostly on fruit.