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Violaceous Turaco

Musophaga violacea
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
West Africa
Savannah, wetlands, and forest

The Violaceous Turaco has glossy violet body feathers and flight feathers with a bold crimson colour. The red colouration of their wings is attributed to turacine, a pigment unique to turacos that contains 9% copper by weight. Unlike other turaco species, the Violaceous Turaco lacks a crest.

They have semizygodactylous feet, allowing them to reposition their outer rear toes to point forwards or backward. This foot structure grants them enhanced running and climbing abilities, with three toes pointing forward for increased speed or two pointing forward for better climbing. Juvenile birds also possess wing claws that aid in climbing.

These turacos often travel in flocks of around 10 or 12 birds.Their diet primarily consists of leaves, flowers, bugs, and fruit.

During the breeding season, the female lays two eggs in a flimsy tree platform nest. The clutch typically contains 2-3 spherical white or greenish eggs. Incubation lasts for approximately 23 days. Both parents actively care for the young, feeding them regurgitated fruit. Fledging occurs around day 18, and the young birds achieve flight by day 30. Remarkably, the parents can begin a new clutch of eggs soon after and the young birds can assist in incubation and feeding of their younger siblings.

The Violaceous Turaco is categorized as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Their population is stable due to a lack of known threats.

In their natural environments they live 5 to 10 years on average, but can live up to 30 years in human care.