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

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 the 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

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 are grayish-green; dark bluish-gray wings and tail; yellowish-green cheeks and ear covers; and blackish belly and thighs.

The Knysna Turaco

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

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 distinguished 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

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

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

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

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 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 bull.

The White-bellied Go-away-bird

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 a small head, short bill, and medium-sized neck. The males sport black bill while females have a green one. A very noisy bird, it feeds mainly on fruits.

The Great Blue Turaco

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 lbs.) It has an overall bright-blue body plumage mark with blue and yellow tail feathers. It has a sturdy body, short wings and a long tail. This colorful and attractive Turaco feeds mostly on fruit.

15 thoughts on “Fascinating Birds: The Attractive and Colorful Turacos of Africa

  1. Travel Quest

    I love those birds with crest so amazing to watch. I get over with birds watching entertainment we had in our backyard. Simple pleasure.

  2. nova hedges

    very nice, they have the same signature yet different style and color. i have never heard nor might seen one here but thanks for this information, very helpful po.

  3. Eileen

    The great blue turaco is the prettiest. I have never seen such rare birds. The only ones I see are the common sparrows. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Ria C

    Wow, they are so beautiful! I like their colors especially the last picture. It's the first time I've seen birds like them and they're magnificent. You really learn a lot by visiting your site Kuya. I think you should have your animal wiki. Hehehe

  5. Jeni G

    The wonders of God's creation! Very lovely species! Africa is so rich with most of these colorful birds:) Hope they'll not be extinct…
    Jeni G of Kalikotpepot

  6. Condo For Rent in Makati

    The turacos is part of Musophagidae or "banana-eaters". It is commonly known as louries in southern Africa Having prominent crests and long tails they are also noted with unique pigments because of their bright green and red feathers.

  7. Rochkirstin Santos

    This is another interesting post about animals. There are plenty of colorful birds in Africa! Your post is also very informative about each type.

  8. Franc

    I have a newfound knowledge on this post — that there's a type of bird that eats fruit. I've always known that birds eat worms only! 🙂

  9. Jonas Labagala

    These are all the beautiful birds and really colorful too. It would be amazing seeing them in Africa.

  10. Karen L.

    I have to visit Africa just to see this beautiful and attractive birds! They are indeed colorful too! All of them each have striking features to boast and I didn't know there can be lots of turacos in any kind! 😀

  11. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

    Beautiful birds! I've never heard of Turaco birds prior to your post. I hope I get to see one someday if I'm lucky enough to go to Africa.

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