One of a number of rather similar looking mostly green turacos that have black facial markings, this species is distinguished by the broad rose-red margin to its crest. Found only in coastal forests, from Somalia to Tanzania, as well as Zanzibar, it was not bred in captivity until the 1990s. It is very rare in US zoos, but commonly displayed in Europe. Captive turacos easily live more than 20 years.
Although it is the most widely distributed of all of the 23 species of turacos, with a broad range in the forests of West and Central Africa, the Great blue turaco was very rare in zoos until the 1990s. In recent years, it has been bred repeatedly at several collections. This is one of several species of turacos that does not have the bright red wing feathers otherwise typical of this family.
Turacos are an entirely African family. Traditionally considered distant relatives of cuckoos, it has been proposed these fruit and bud-eating birds may be more closely related to owls. Found almost coast to coast across Africa, in a narrow ribbon of forest habitat, this species is popular in zoos and private collections because of its “Groucho Marx eyebrows” contrasting with its unique white head. Many have hatched since the first captive breedings in the 1970s.