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Violaceous Turaco

Musophaga violacea
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
West Africa

The violet turaco, also known as the violaceous plantain eater, is a large turaco, a group of Africannear-passerines. It is resident in West Africa, and has an extremely large range from Senegal through to the Nigeria, with an isolated population in Chad and Central African Republic. It occurs in tropical savannas, wetlands, woodlands and forests.

These are unmistakable birds, but shy and often inconspicuous in the treetops. They are approximately 48 cm (19 in) long, including a long tail and a 4 cm (1.6 in) bill. They boast a wingspan of 21 cm (8.3 in) and weigh approximately 360g. The plumage is glossy violet, except for the yellow forehead, chestnut crown and white ear coverts; the bill is thick and red. In flight, the violet turaco's crimson primary flight feathers contrast with the violet plumage. The red colour in the wings is typical of turacos (indeed, the family name comes from turacine, a copper-based pigment).

The female lays two eggs in a flimsy tree platform nest. Diet consists of fruit, and they are quite partial to figs, but they will also eat leaves, buds, flowers, insects, snails and slugs.

Turacos are social birds, travelling in flocks of around ten to twelve individuals. They are not strong fliers but they can run quickly through the branches. Cooperative breeding behavior has been observed in captivity in this species.

Violet turaco has a loud cooroo-cooroo call.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Violaceous Turaco", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.