Am I on the Telly? (Violet Turacos)

Dorothy Thomson

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Edinburgh Zoo has two adult violet turacos, a male and a female. The male was hatched in 1996 and came to us in 2006 from the Paradise Wildlife Park in Cornwall. The female was hatched in 2008 and also came to Edinburgh Zoo in 2009.

Turacos are often quite vocal, making a rasping “wheezy”-sounding call. Look for the flash of red on their wings as they fly around in their enclosure.

The violet turacos at Edinburgh Zoo are fed a diet of chopped fruit, frugivorous bird mix and pellets. Our turacos first bred in 2010, producing 3 chicks that will eventually be sent off to other zoos as part of the European StudBook for the species, co-ordinated by staff at Warsaw Zoo in Poland.

Violet turacos (Musophaga violacea) are also known as violaceous turacos or violet plantain-eaters. They are found in Chad, Ghana, Niger, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal and Cameroon living in tropical savannas, wetlands, woodlands and forests. Their plumage is a glossy violet colour except for their thick orange bill, yellow forehead and crimson crown. The main flight feathers on the wings are also crimson in colour.

Turacos are not strong fliers but they can run quickly through the branches. They are quite shy and try to stay out of sight in the dense canopy of the forest. Their 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. Nests are built out of twigs. The female lays two eggs which are incubated for approximately three weeks. The young turacos are fully coloured by the time they are a year old.

Breeding programme category: ESB
IUCN Red List category: Least Concern

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birds turacos edinburgh zoo

Artwork Comments

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