- Common Name
- white-cheeked turaco
- Genus Species
- Tauraco (imitation of bird's call) leucotis (white ear)
- The white-cheeked turaco is green with deep greenish-blue tail and wings. The ventral surfaces of their wings are crimson. They have a white patch in front of their eyes and on the side of their neck. These birds have a red beak and eye ring and a blue-green crest.
- 43 cm (17 in.) from beak to tip of tail
- 200 to 315 g (7.1 to 11.1 oz)
- Fruit, some invertebrates (frugivores)
- 21 to 24 days
- Clutch Size
- 2 to 3 eggs
- Sexual Maturity
- 1 to 2 years
- Life Span
- Approximately 10 to 12 years
- This species has a very large range and can be found in Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan.
- Tall forest, riverside forest, evergreen forest, and wooded valleys
- The total population is unknown but scientists believe there are at least 10,000 mature individuals. The population appears to be stable and is not severely fragmented.
- IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Appendix III
USFWS: Not listed
Turacos are the only birds to possess true red and green pigmentation. When you look at most birds, the color you are seeing is a reflection produced by the feather structure. Their red pigment (turacin) and green pigment (turacoverdin) both contain copper.
Turacos have a beautiful crest on their head which stands about 5 cm (2 in.) tall when they are excited.
They use their long tails for balance and their feet are very good at gripping. In fact, their fourth toe can rotate forward or backward in order to have a better grip on their perch.
These birds live in flocks of up to 12 individuals. They are shy and prefer to remain hidden.
This species tends to form monogamous breeding pairs. During courtship, the male will feed the female. They build their nest together and the parents take turns sitting on the eggs. Once the eggs have hatched, other flock members help the new mother care for the chicks. Chicks can fly at 4 weeks of age. They may leave the nest at 6 weeks of age.
When faced with danger, they sit very still and fly away at the last minute with powerful flaps, revealing the crimson color under their wings.
Ecology and Conservation
Turacos are a food source for many animals larger than themselves.
Due to their relative abundance and destructive feeding habits, they are considered an agricultural pest.
These birds are vital to the environment because they disperse seeds and foster the growth of new forests.
These birds may warn other animals of predators with their bright red wings in flight.
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Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Blandford Books Ltd., UK, 1981.
Perrins, Christopher (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985.
Simpson, D.P. Cassell's Latin Dictionary. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York., 1959.
Williams, J. Collins. Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa. 1980.
BirdLife International. 2016. Tauraco leucotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22688355A95213742. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22688355A95213742.en. Downloaded on 21 December 2018.