Hartlaub's Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi)
Hartlaub's Turaco are medium-sized, 17" (43cm) birds, with a distinct red orbital ring around the eye and a white spot in front, with a white line below . Its glossy blue-black crest reaches down to its heavy, slightly curved, dark red bill. The throat, neck, breast and mantle ore olive-green. The rest of the plumage is glossy violet-blue, except for striking red, violet & blue beneath its wings and very long tail, seen when flying.
Hartlaub's Turaco are seen singly, in pairs or small family groups. They are less shy than other Turacos, but can be difficult to see, either in dense foliage or perched at the top of tall trees. They are agile birds, leaping about through the canopy of trees. Their rounded wings give them a laboured look when flying and they attempt to glide from one high point to a lower tree, bounding upwards through the tree, to fly again. Due to their arboreal activities, they have strong feet, often hanging upside-down and the fourth toe is reversible.
Breeding coincides with Kenya's rainy season and nests are flimsy affairs, consisting of a flat platform of twigs in the thickest foliage of a tree. The male chases the female through the trees, displaying his bright red underwings and calling in a fascinating display. Typically, two eggs are laid, with incubation taking around 17 days. The chicks are attended to by both parents, who regugitate fruit and berries, occasionally supplimented by insects or invertebrates. The chicks fledge within 3 weeks and learn to fly shortly afterwards.
Hartlaub's Turaco mostly feed on fruiting trees, barring which, they eat buds and on occasion, insects and small invertebrates.
Hartlaub's Turaco are commonly seen in mountain forests and less commonly in wooded gardens, from 1,600 to 3,200 metres. They are seen most often in Kenya's mountains east & south of Turkana and south to Chyulu, Taita Hills & Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Extra Hartlaub's Turaco Facts
Hartlaub's Turaco have a raucous, repetitive "kaw" call.
Unlike other brightly coloured birds that have melanins and lipochromes in their feathers, Turacos have unique copper pigments (turacoverdin & turacin) that are water soluble. One of their red feathers, placed in water, turns the water pink.
Photographed at Kenya's Karen suburb of Nairobi.
Keywords:bird, hartlaub's turaco, kenya, turaco, wildlife