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Bird of the month: Turacos

My Magazine 2022/10
1 min
Endemic to Africa, these in-tree-living birds have two distinct features; a long tail and a crest on the head. They are very vocal and feed mainly on fruit. They are weak aviators but very nimble in running and bounding on tree branches.

In body features and behaviour but not in colours are violet turaco, a common resident of the gallery forests and forest edges throughout The Gambia and green turaco, which only habits in the southwest part of The Gambia in lowlands and gallery forests. They are both residing together in small parties or pairs.

Musophaga violacea, also known as the violet turaco, is mostly covered in dark purple and dark blue to black feathers, with the exception of a deep yellow and reddish-tipped bill, crimson crown and flight feathers, and a scarlet-skinned head bordered by a white line below the eye. The juvenile bird is much duller with a black bill and dark head.

Violet Turaco

Tauraco persa, or green turaco, is covered in bright green feathers from its crest all the way to the breast and the upper back. Tail and wing coverts are glossy violet-black, and flight coverts, only seen during the flight, are crimson in colour. Bill is dark orange to red, and the eye is adorned with a red orbital ring and white patch, creating a cat-eye look. A juvenile's appearance is almost the same as an adult, with less striking crimson flight feathers.

Green Turaco

Both species are very vocal and join with their song in duets while eliciting a response from others. Their song is different but combined out of various vocalisations.  

Photo Credits: Mark Goddard

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