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Turaco birds are made up of 18 species of African residents known for their gorgeous coloring and fruit eating. They are sometimes referred to as plantain eaters or Lourie and their proper name is the Musophagidae family which translates to “banana eaters”, although the majority of their diet is made up of things other than bananas. They are long-tailed, short-winged, and live in dense forest. The birds are noisy and have a variety of entertaining calls depending on the occasion and species.
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red crested turaco
Types of Turacos
- Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)
- Grey Go-Away (Corythaixoides concolor)
- Hartlaub's Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi)
- Knysna Turaco (Tauraco corythaix)
- Lady Ross' Turaco (Musophaga rossae)
- Livingstons Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii)
- Red-Crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus)
- Schalow's Turaco (Tauraco schalowi)
- Violet-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus)
- White-Bellied Go-Away (Corythaixoides leucogaster)
- White-Cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leocotis)
- White-Crested Turaco (Tauraco leucolophus)
Turaco species all vary in size, but all have their rich colors in common. About half the species are grayish, brown and white, but the other half is iridescent colors of green, red, and purple. Most have a predominant head crest. Each species have their own sounds. One's been nicknamed “The Go-Away Bird” for its alarming sound and sounding as if they are actually saying 'g'way, g'way”. Other species might “bark”, “laugh”, or “coo”.
Courtship and Reproduction
The Turaco is a social bird that can be found in noisy flocks, but nests alone. The male will do a type of dance and sometimes regurgitates meals for the female. The dance is like walking or leaping about the trees with its tail fanned exposing its crimson in its wings. The male and female usually look identical, but it is believed that their facial patterns play a role in mate recognition. Once they've mated, two or three eggs will be incubated on their interesting nest. Rather than a cup-like nest like most birds we hear of, the Turaco makes a flat platform of like materials. Once the chicks are hatched, they are quite able from the start and have pretty well-developed claws already. Turacos spend all of their time in tree-tops foraging for food. They can run rather quickly, but are not good flyers and don't migrate.
Like previously mentioned, the bird has been named as a banana eater, but its diet mainly consists of the things that are found where they nest, considerably high up in the trees. Fruit, buds, flowers, leaves, small insects, slugs, and snails are main parts of the diet. Their diet helps the ecosystem by dispersing seeds for plant reproduction. Sometimes they'll travel long distances to eat from a favorite tree.
Turacos can be viewed in some zoos and wildlife parks, and aren't uncommonly kept. They are an ideal animal for keeping because they live as well as 30 years of age in captivity and can be kept in large groups. The bird has a soft bill and should be given a diet appropriate for its bill. Plenty of information for keeping Turacos is readily available, another good factor for keeping wild animals.
For the most part, Turacos are considered low-risk with some species more endangered than others. Something that makes this bird rather special is that it has two copper pigments that haven't been discovered within any other bird species before. The crimson feathers mentioned in the section pertaining the male's courtship dance, are usually only seen when the bird is in flight and are also highly esteemed by African societies and are usually only worn in ceremonial attire.