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White-crested turaco

Tauraco leucolophus

Description: White-crested turacos are very colorful with their light green body plumage; dark blue to purple back, wings and tail; jet black face; red eye ring; bright yellow beak; red flight feathers; long charcoal tail and their white chin, neck and nape. The most prominent feature is their white crest that resembles a Mohawk. A distinctive feature is their semi-zygodactylous toes. Each claw has a pair of toes that face forward and a pair that face backward (eight toes in all), but they have a more flexible toe on the rear of each claw that can move to the side. This flexibility makes for easy grip and tree-climbing.

Size: The average White-crested turaco is approximately 15 inches (38 cm) long and weighs between 6-8.5 ounces (140-230 gr).

Behavior: These arboreal birds spend most of their time hopping through the trees of their forest habitat looking for food. Generally, they only come to ground to drink or bathe. They are territorial and will defend their space.

Diet: They feed mainly on fruit, seeds, leaves and flowers. However, they will also eat beetles, caterpillars, moths, slugs, snails and termites.

Communication: They have loud calls in order to communicate with one anther through the dense foliage of their habitat. During breeding season the male’s calls are louder and have a higher pitch, they display their red feathers and chase their mate from tree to tree.

Reproduction: The female lays two to three eggs in a flimsy nest made of sticks and twigs. Both the female and male incubate the eggs and help rear the chicks. The chicks are able to leave the nest when they are about four weeks old.

Habitat/range: White-crested turacos prefer open woodland, gallery and riverine forests. They have a large range throughout sub-Saharan Africa, from southeast Nigeria to west Kenya.

Status: Listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.