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Monday, May 22, 2017

Species Fact Profile: Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)

Great Blue Turaco
Corythaeola cristata (Vieillot, 1816)

Range: West and Central Africa
Habitat: Rainforest, Montane Forest
Diet: Fruits, Leaves, Flowers, Buds, Insects.  Chicks fed regurgitated leaves
Social Grouping: Pairs, Small Flocks.  Territorial Year-Round
Reproduction: Parents build a stick nest in a tree, lay 2 pale blue eggs.  Eggs are incubated by both parents and hatch after about 31 days.  Chicks leave nest at 6 weeks, but may be watched over by parents for 3 months.
Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern

  • Largest species of turaco.  Body length is 70-76 centimeters, weight between 800 and 1200 grams.  Males are slightly smaller than females
  • Sexes look alike.  Turquoise-blue feathers, turning slightly gray on the face, which is crowned by a black crest.  The tail has a broad, black band near the end.  The beak is bright yellow, tipped with bright red.  Some greenish-yellow on the lower breast and belly, fading into a reddish-brown on the lower belly.  The legs and feet and black.  Juveniles duller than adults
  • Very vocal, call is a deep, guttural sound ("kok kok kok") with soft trills.  Often call at dawn and dusk, especially for courtship.  Other courtship displays involved chasing, mutual feeding, and raising and lowering the crest and tail
  • Older chicks will sometimes stay with their parents to help assist with the next clutch of eggs
  • Very agile at climbing among the branches, like parrots.  Typically come to the ground only to drink and to bathe.  Not very good fliers, only fly a short distance
  • Hunted for its meat as well as for its feathers, used in making good luck talismans.  Tolerant of habitat disturbance and can live alongside humans if not hunted

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