Lady Ross' Turaco: Musophaga Rossae
Distribution and Habitat
Lady Ross’s Turaco is found in central and southern Africa.
Lady Ross’s Turaco lives in the canopy of evergreen forests, and avoids going
into deep forests. They stay in open areas with scattered trees.
Lady Ross’s Turaco is a relation of the cuckoo that is a medium-sized bird with a long tail, and broad, round wings. Their striking color comes from the presence of two copper pigments, turacoverdia, green pigment and turacin, red pigment. These pigments are unique only to the Turaco. They are glossy violet-blue with a crimson crest, yellow bill and frontal shield. Juveniles lack a shield. Their head is black with a small red patch in the center. They grow to 15-18 inches and weigh between 13-15 ounces. They have 3 toes that point forward and the 4th toe sticks out the side enabling it to be rotated forwards or backwards. The toes are short and curved to help them run along the tree branches easily, because they are not graceful fliers. They cackle and croak and show off their red plumage headgear that can stand 2 inches when excited. The only difference between males and females is that the female may have a green beak. They can live up to 20 years in captivity.
Lady Ross’s Turaco are very social and noisy birds, however, highly territorial.
The short curved toes enable them to run quickly through the tree branches.
Mated pairs of Turaco share the responsibility of incubating and raising their chicks.