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Red-Crested Turaco

Tauraco erythrolophus
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
Savannah or forests

Turacos are adapted for their treetop lifestyle.  They have short, rounded wings that let them fly between branches, and strong leg muscles to help them run and jump on branches.  They even have unusual semi-zygodactylous feet, granting them the ability to have either two toes forward and two back (zygodactyl) or rotate the outer back toes forward to have three forward and one back. This adaptability lets them move through trees quickly, running or flying as needed.

The Red-crested Turaco feeds on a variety of food sources including fruit, flowers, leaves, and insects. The species derives its name from the red pigment present in its feathers known as turacin. This pigment contains a significant amount of copper, making up about 9% of its weight. They also have an unusual pigment called turacoverdin that is one of the only truly green pigments in birds. Young birds initially appear brown and require time to accumulate enough copper to display the vibrant green coloration of adults.

Courtship involves calling and chasing, followed by mutual feeding. These turacos are monogamous and construct flimsy nests using twigs. Females lay 2 to 3 eggs, which are incubated for 21 to 24 days. The young birds fledge after approximately 4 weeks but remain dependent on their parents for several months. Interestingly, other members of the flock also assist in caring for the young. Red-crested Turacos are social birds and typically form flocks of up to 30 individuals.

Regarding its conservation status, the Red-crested Turaco is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. However, its population trend is declining primarily due to habitat destruction, which poses a significant threat to the species.

The Red-crested Turaco lives for 5 to 9 years on average.