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Bird of the Week

Bird of the Week: Green Turaco

Hello gorgeous!

Choosing Birds of the Week for this feature can sometimes be a complex process, full of lists and a lot of time scrolling through various catalogues of the world’s birds. But, I will be honest, sometimes I just ask people “uh any good birds I should do?” That is how I came to know about today’s bird, the green turaco. I asked a friend of mine “any good birds” and she said that her grandmother in Ghana used to keep these birds called turacos, and I looked them up, and I had my bird. The reason I had my bird is, look at the bird.

Credit: Charles Patrick Ewing

Hello gorgeous! The green turaco (also known as the guinea turaco, and the green-crested turaco, and the green lourie, and is sometimes but mostly not spelled touraco) hails from the forests of West Africa, from Senegal on the Atlantic coast across through Ghana and Nigeria and down into Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and Angola. It is also, as you can see, extremely wow-looking. The green top half leading to that purple-blue plumage on the bottom? And those incredible eyes, with the black and white and red? Wow. Let’s do another picture.

Credit: Charles Patrick Ewing

The green turaco eats a primarily fruit-based diet (though it will not turn down a bug or a flower), is highly territorial, and, according to AviBase, is known in Lithuanian as “Gvinėjinis turakas.” It also has a very amazing set of calls. I don’t love videos of birds in captivity but this was the only one I could find with the calls. One is almost rooster-like, but more trilling and mellifluous, and then there’s one that’s a series of short, sharp jabs. Listen:

The green turaco is not the only kind of turaco in the world. There are over 20 species flying around out there, and they all look awesome (look at the great blue or purple-crested turaco!!!), and some of them have immortal names like the bare-faced go-away-bird (that name almost made me switch my bird preference but it is honestly very creepy to look at and I wanted to do a fun bird).

I also generally do not like Sea World at all, but for some reason they have interesting facts about turacos:

Turacos are the only birds to possess true red and green color. When you look at most birds, the color you are seeing is a reflection produced by the feather structure. The turaco’s red pigment (turacin) and green pigment (turacoverdin) both contain copper. In fact, if you stirred a glass of water with a red turaco feather, the water would turn pink! In museum species, the pigments deepen with age because the copper begins to oxidize.

Finally, Sea World proves useful. (Now go away forever!) The green turaco: realest bird in the world????

OK one last videeo and then we’re done. Green turacos: excellent!