Species group: Turacos
Other common names: N/A
Scientific name: Tauraco leucolophus
While it has been described as rare in the United Kingdom, the White-crested Turaco seems to reproduce well in the United States in both zoos and private collections, where it is highly regarded for its beauty and its ability to show well in a mixed-species planted aviary. This bird is recommended to experienced bird owners who have the space and resources to provide it with the right setting.
This turaco occurs over a rather broad band of central Africa south of the Sahara Desert. They are a bird of the river, lowland, and hilly forests, although there are reports from as high as 7,000 feet.
The White-crested Turaco is a particularly beautiful example of the so-called green turacos, with its snow-white crest, chin, and neck, coupled with a small black upper face mask. From behind, the bird looks more blue than green, and it shows plenty of crimson flash under the wings when it flies.
175 - 225 grams (6 - 8 oz.)
40 centimeters (16 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
A White-crested Turaco might become aggressive toward its mate, and the aviary should be designed to allow the victim the best chance of escape. Be observant, and separate the birds when you observe a problem. They can be reliable breeders with a long reproductive life span once they get going, so take your time about introducing compatible birds. Patience can pay off with this species.
White-crested Turacos need relatively large, well-planted aviaries to feel secure. They are not powerful fliers. To encourage them to hop from branch to branch, both to get exercise and to show off the flashing wings, place plenty of perches at the appropriate height, being aware that this species prefers to stay off the ground.
It's generally considered wise to give your White-crested Turaco pair the best chance of success by providing it with its own well-planted personal aviary. One successful green turaco breeder has pointed out that you should supply lots of vegetation and a number of sheltered hiding places, to give a harried bird a chance to escape aggression from an overly dominant mate. The nest platform should be placed in a rather dark, hidden corner, where the pair can feel secure. It should be deep enough to stop the baby birds from jostling each other out of the nest.
When planning your aviary or flight, incorporate ideas that make it easy to clean. Like all fruit-eaters, White-crested Turacos can be a little on the messy side.
The White-crested Turaco's fruit-based diet should be offered on feeding platforms raised off the floor of the aviary. For non-breeding birds, the amount of fruit and other vegetable food in the diet is staggering – often around 85% of the diet. The chopped salad should be mostly cubed fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, papaya, grapes, and so on, combined with plenty of chopped greens and some chopped carrot. Because of the risk of iron storage disease, it is highly advisable to choose a low iron softbill pellet and to avoid offering any citrus-based fruit. (Citric acid found in oranges, tangerines, pineapples, and tomatoes may help the body retain iron, a bad thing in this species.) Some breeders offer live food to their green turacos during the nesting season, but others state that their birds will not accept it.
White-crested Turacos love to bathe, and the aviary should probably have a shallow pond or bathing dish as well as a water dish.
Written by Elaine Radford