Name: the Knysna turaco (Tauraco corythaix) – or in South Africa the Knysna loerie – is a large, colourful bird in the turaco family.
Appearance: Knysna turacos are unmistakable birds thanks to their incredibly coloured feathers. They are mostly a deep green colour with white tipped crests and bright red flight feathers. They have red rings around their eyes and orange-red beaks.
Size: they reach around 40 cm long, much of which is made up of their long tails.
Diet: they feed on fruits, insects, and earthworms.
Did you know: turacos are the only birds to be a true red and green colour. For most birds, their colour is a reflection of light produced by the structure of the feathers. However, turacos’ contain red and green pigments in their feathers – so if you put a turaco feather in a glass of water it starts to turn pink! Knysna turacos use their red wing feathers to escape predators. When chasing their prey, predators focus on the most visible colour. In forests the red stands out against the green background. Once predators are chasing after the red feathers they fold their wings so these feathers are invisible and they can escape unseen.
Location: Knysna turcaos can be found in the mature evergreen forests of southern and eastern South Africa and Swaziland.
Where to see Knysna turacos
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see Knysna turacos in the following places:
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Photo credit: David Cook under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr