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Fischer’s turaco

Tauraco fischeri

Description: Fischer’s turacos have amazing shades of green feathers marked with touches of red and white. Easy to distinguish with its crimson crest, nape, and primaries and inner secondaries. The crest is tipped with black at the tallest part, white on lower portion. The upper parts are green- blue to violet-blue, with lower belly being much darker. The red bill has white lines both above and below the black lore area; bare orbital skin is red and the eyes are brown. The wings are rather short and rounded; tail is long. Turacos are noted for peculiar and unique pigments, giving them their bright green, blue and red feathers.

Size: They are medium-sized birds, approximately 15.8 (40 cm) long and nine ounces (0.56 gr) in weight.

Behavior: These rather sedentary birds are seen singly, in pairs or in small groups. Turacos are agile birds that go to the ground to drink and bathe, preferring the upper canopy area where they move from branch to branch, usually only flying short distances. The outer toe of each foot can face backward or forward – easier to grip branches when turned back and forward to run on branches.

Diet: They feed mostly on fruits and to a lesser extent on leaves, buds and flowers, occasionally taking small insects, snails and slugs.

Communication: Turacos are very territorial and extremely vocal, often at dawn, with their loud calling being heard throughout the forests. Sound is a harsh bark-like noise, followed by a hoot that is much higher in pitch. Pairs may form duets.

Reproduction: They build stick nests in trees, and lay one or two spherical eggs, almost like ping-pong balls. Both parents incubate the eggs for 22-23 days. The chicks are born with fluffy feathers and open eyes.

Habitat/range: Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and cultivated land. They are found in Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania.

Status: Classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is believed to have a moderately small population, which is suspected to be declining over the effects of forest exploitation, clearing for agriculture and capture for trade. CITES, Appendix II.