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The Violet Turaco, also known as the Violaceous Plantain Eater (Musophaga violacea), is a large turaco, a group of African near-passerines. It is resident in West Africa, and has an extremely large range from Senegal through to the Nigeria, with an isolated population in Chad and Central African Republic. It occurs in tropical savannas, wetlands, woodlands and forests.
These are unmistakable birds, but shy and often inconspicuous in the treetops. They are 45 cm (18 in) long, including a long tail. The plumage is glossy violet, except for the yellow forehead, chestnut crown and white ear coverts; the bill is thick and red. In flight, the Violet Turaco's crimson primary flight feathers contrast with the violet plumage. The red colour in the wings is typical of turacos (indeed, the family name comes from turacine, a copper-based pigment).
This species is locally common, but is vulnerable to trapping for the pet trade in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. The female lays two eggs in a flimsy tree platform nest. 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. They are not strong fliers but they can run quickly through the branches. Cooperative breeding behavior has been observed in captivity in this species.
Violet Turaco has a loud cooroo-cooroo call.
At Atlanta Zoo, Georgia, USA
- BirdLife International (2012). "Musophaga violacea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Bent, Nancy; Corbett, Francine (1993). "Helping behaviour and other observations on nesting in the violet turaco". Avicultural Magazine 99 (3): 132–135. ISSN 0005-2256.
Birds of The Gambia by Barlow, Wacher and Disley, ISBN 1-873403-32-1