Violaceous turaco in exhibit

Violaceous Turaco

Scientific Name
Musophaga violacea
Geographic Range
Central and West Africa
Fruit, seeds, and nuts
Violaceous turaco in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Violaceous turacos are birds around 30 inches long, which weigh less than a pound. They are covered in dark purple feathers except for the head, which has red feathers and a white streak behind their eyes. They also have a yellow shield on their forehead. This is the only turaco species without a crest.

These birds live in savannas and forests but can also be found in human-made gardens and other environments. Violaceous turacos are more social than other turacos and may gather in groups of a dozen or so when traveling. They make shallow nests or platforms of loosely woven sticks and lay up to three eggs inside. After a 25-day incubation, hatchlings are born and fledge within the month.

Did You Know?

  • Violaceous turacos aren’t the best flyers, but easily navigate their forest habitat by running along branches. They are aided by several semi-zygodactyl toes; these toes are reversible, allowing the bird extra balance where they need it.
  • They drop a lot of food, which allows other animals to enjoy their leftovers and helps to distribute seeds across their environment.
  • When threatened, these birds freeze. This helps them camouflage with their surroundings


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