Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ABC Wednesday: T is for Turaco

a White-Cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis)
Turacos are a family of African birds, usually with brightly coloured plumage and a fancy crest of feathers on their head. There's a group that is also known as go away-birds due to their habit of giving warning calls that sounds like go away and all turacos are fairly noisy birds.


They feed mainly on fruit and leaves, with insects as an occasional part of their diet. Turacos are important for many trees because they don't digest the seeds and so help with spreading them.

a Guinea Turaco (Tauraco persa)

A turaco's plumage gets its vivid colouring from two copper pigments that are only found with turacos, turacoverdin and turacin.

Turacos have a way of jump-gliding through the branches that looks very peculiar and it's a good first step to identify them. They can fly, but prefer to jump or just run. They also have a flexible third toe that can either face forward, to give the birds a better grip when perching, or backwards to make it easier to run along branches. You can see a bit of that in this video.

I don't have a photo of my favourite turaco species, the red-creasted turaco, but here's a video of those beautoful birds.

More Ts at ABC Wednesday and more birds at World Bird Wednesday

Sources and further reading:
Turaco Society
Internet Bird Collection

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