Gallirex porphyreolophus (Purple-crested turaco, Purple-crested lourie) 

[= Tauraco porphyreolophus] 

Bloukuifloerie [Afrikaans]; iGwalagwala (also applied to Knysna and Livingstone's turacos) [Zulu]; Chikurungadovi, Hurukuru [Shona]; Ligwalagwala [Swazi]; Nkwenyana (generic term for lourie) [Tsonga]; Purperkuiftoerako [Dutch]; Touraco huppe splendide [French]; Glanzhaubenturako [German]; Turaco-de-crista-violeta [Portuguese]

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Gallirex porphyreolophus (Purple-crested turaco, Purple-crested lourie) 

Purple-crested turaco, South Africa. [photo Dave Scott ]

Gallirex porphyreolophus (Purple-crested turaco, Purple-crested lourie) Gallirex porphyreolophus (Purple-crested turaco, Purple-crested lourie)

Purple-crested turaco, Bloukuifloerie, Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa. [photo Peet van Schalkwyk , see also scienceanimations.com]

Purple-crested turaco, Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ]

The Purple-crested turaco occurs from Uganda through Tanzania to the eastern half of southern Africa, where it is locally common in closed woodland and coastal forest. It eats almost exclusively fruit, foraging in tree canopies, perching at the end of branches to pick the fruit directly. The nest is built by both sexes, with one collecting sticks and handing them to other, who adds it to the nest. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 21-23 days. The chicks leave the nest before they can fly, at about 21 days old, but at about  38 days old, they make they're first flight.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Uganda and Tanzania to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and eastern South Africa. It generally prefers closed woodland, particularly riverine woodland, although it also occupies thick scrub and coastal forest.

Distribution of Purple-crested turaco in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Call

 
   

Recorded by Peter Ginn, Zimbabwe 1970, [ Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

It eats mainly fruit, foraging in tree canopies, perching at the end of branches to pick the fruit directly. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Fruit
    • Antidesma venosum (Tassel-berry)
    • Berchemia discolor (Brown ivory)
    • Elaeodendron transvaalense (Transvaal saffronwood)
    • Celtis africana (White-stinkwood)
    • Chaetacme aristata (Thorny-elm)
    • Diospyros kirkii (Large-leaved jackal-berry)
    • Diospyros mespilliformes (Jackal-berry)
    • Diospyros lycoides (Bluebush star apple)
    • Duranta erecta (Forget-me-not tree)
    • Ekebergia capensis (Cape-ash)
    • Feretia aeruginescens (Pink-medlar)
    • Ficus (wild figs)
      • Ficus ingens (Red-leaved fig)
      • Ficus natalensis (Coastal strangler fig)
      • Ficus burkei (Common wild fig)
      • Ficus abutifolia (Large-leaved rock fig)
      • Ficus sur (Broom cluster fig)
      • Ficus sycomorus (Sycomore fig)
    • Lannia schweinfurthii (False-marula)
    • Maesa lanceolata (False assegai)
    • Mimusops caffra (Coastal red-milkwood)
    • Mimusops zeyheri (Red-milkwood)
    • Parinari curatellifolia (Mobola-plum)
    • Olea capensis (Rock ironwood)
    • Rhoicissus revoilii (Bushveld grape)
    • Rhus gueinzii (Thorny karee)
    • Strychnos decussata (Cape-teak)
    • Strychnos potatorum (Black bitterberry)
    • Syzygium cordatum (Waterberry)
    • Vitex payos (Chocolate-berry)
    • Xanthocercis zambesiaca (Nyala-tree)
    • Ziziphus abyssinica (Large jujube)
    • Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo-thorn)
    • cultivated fruit
      • Psidium guajava (Guava)
      • Morus australis (Mulberry)
    • alien plants
      • Melia azedarach (Persian lilac)
      • Eugenia malaccensis (Malay apple)
      • Eugenia (myrtles)
      • Solanum mauritanium (Bugweed)
  • Buds of Capparis tomentosa (Wooly caper-bush)

Breeding

  • The nest is built by both sexes, with one collecting sticks and handing them to other, who adds them to the nest. It is typically placed in matted creepers, dense mistletoe or isolated thorn trees.
Gallirex porphyreolophus (Purple-crested turaco, Purple-crested lourie)  Gallirex porphyreolophus (Purple-crested turaco, Purple-crested lourie) 

Purple-crested turaco at its nest with chicks, South Africa. [photo Hugh Chittenden ]

  • Egg-laying season is from August-February.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 21-23 days.
  • The chicks are brooded for the first week of their lives, after which brooding time progressively decreases. The chicks leave the nest before they can fly, at about 21 days old, taking their first flight approximately 17 days later.

Threats

Might be locally threatened by deforestation, however it has adapted to human interference better than other turacos, as it has started to move into suburban gardens and alien vegetation. It is also in demand as a cage bird, but the impact that this has on its numbers is unknown.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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