Red Crested Turaco

Red-Crested Turaco

Scientific Classification

Common Name
red-crested turaco
Genus Species
Tauraco (imitation of the bird's cry) erythrolophus

Fast Facts

These medium-sized birds have a green body with a long tail and a tall, red crest. Their eyes are red and their beak is yellowish-green.
Adult birds can reach a length of 47.5 to 50 cm (19 to 20 in.).
These birds weigh less than 0.5 kg (<1 lbs.).
These birds eat fruit, flowers, leaves, termites, seeds, acacia, figs, and even large snails.
21 to 24 days; clutch size: 2 to 3 eggs; fledging duration: 4 weeks
Sexual Maturity
1 to 2 years
Life Span
5 to 9 years
These birds have a very restricted range and live only in Angola.
These birds are found in subtropical to tropical forests and moist lowlands.
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be locally common. The population is suspected to be in decline due to ongoing habitat destruction.
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: No data

Fun Facts

Turacos are the only birds to possess actual red and green pigments in their feathers. The red pigment (turacin) and green pigment (turacoverdin) both contain copper. When you look at most birds, the color you perceive is a reflection produced by their feather structure.

These birds have highly mobile outer toes that can rotate forward or backward.

They use their long tails for balance and their feet are very good at gripping.

These birds produce a call that sounds like "go way" which is why they are often referred to as Go-Away Birds.

These birds have a beautiful red crest, which stands about 5 cm (2 in.) high when excited.

These birds are monogamous and they live in flocks up to 30 individuals. During courtship, the males will feed the female. They both build their nest and the male and female take turns sitting on the nest. Once the eggs have hatched, other flock members help the new mother care for the chicks.

These birds may eat berries that are considered highly poisonous to humans.

Ecology and Conservation

In Africa, these birds are often viewed as pests because their feeding habits are very destructive to crops and gardens. However, they do play an important role in seed dispersal throughout the forest.

Turacos are preyed upon by many forest predators.


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, Dr. Christopher M. And Dr. Alex 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.

BirdLife International 2016. Tauraco erythrolophus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22688346A93193784. Downloaded on 18 November 2019.