Guira Cuckoo

Guinea Turaco

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Guinea turaco, green turaco
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Cuculiformes
Family
Musophagidae
Genus Species
Tauraco (imitation of the bird's cry) persa persa

Fast Facts

Description
The Guinea turaco is a medium-sized, green bird with a long tail, a tall crest, red eyes and a red beak.
Size
From beak to tip of tail, approximately 47.5–50 cm (19–20 in.)
Weight
Less than 0.45 kg (less than 1 lbs.)
Diet
Includes fruit, flowers, leaves, termites, seed pods, acacia, figs, and snails (up to the size of a peach!)
Incubation
21–24 days
Clutch Size
2–3 eggs
Fledging Duration
Approximately 4 weeks to fledge
Sexual Maturity
1–2 years
Life Span
5–9 years
Range
Central and southern Africa
Habitat
Found in forest and savanna areas
Population
Global: Unknown
Status 
IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Turacos are the only birds to possess true red and green color. When you look at most birds, the color you are seeing is a reflection produced by the feather structure. The turaco's red pigment (turacin) and green pigment (turacoverdin) both contain copper. In fact, if you stirred a glass of water with a red turaco feather, the water would turn pink! In museum species, the pigments deepen with age because the copper begins to oxidize.
  2. These birds have mobile outer toes, which they are able to rotate forward or backward.
  3. On their heads is a beautiful crest, which stands about 5 cm (2 in.) tall when they are excited.
  4. Turacos live in large flocks of up to 30 individuals.
  5. They are monogamous in breeding. During courtship, the male turaco will feed the female. Together, they build their nest; mother and father 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 (or decide to stay with the flock).
  6. They are monogamous in breeding. During courtship, the male turaco will feed the female. Together, they build their nest; mother and father 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 (or decide to stay with the flock).

Ecology and Conservation

Turacos are a food source for many animals larger than themselves.

They are so abundant in Africa that they are considered a pest. Their feeding habits are very destructive, which annoys most gardeners. However, they aid in seed dispersal by eating messy fruit. They also eat berries that are considered highly poisonous to humans


Bibliography

Austin, G. Birds of the World. Golden Press, Inc., New York. 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Blandford Books Ltd., UK. 1981.

Perrins, C. M. and A.L.A. Middleton, Eds. The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Pub. 1985.

Simpson, D.P. Cassell's Latin Dictionary. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York. 1959.