Corythaix porphyreolophus Vigors, 1831, Durban, South Africa. Two subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Purple-crested lourie; French: Touraco a huppe splendide; German: Glanzhaubenturako; Spanish: Turaco Crestimorado.
16–18 in (40–46 cm); 7.7–11.6 oz (218–328 g). A striking iridescent green-and-violet turaco with a dark violet purple crest and conspicuous red flight feathers. Upper back and breast green washed with rose pink in nominate birds, but lacking any wash in chlorochlamys. Lower back and wings grayish blue, tail glossy violet blue. Posterior underparts pale bluish slate in nominate birds, but dull greenish gray in chlorochlamys. Juveniles similar to adults but red primaries duller and less extensive.
G. p. porphreolophus: South Africa from Natal and eastern Transvaal north to Mozambique and Zimbabwe, intergrading with chlorochlamys in the Zambezi Valley. G. p. chlorochlamys: Zambia east to Malawi and northern Mozambique, and north to Tanzania, southeastern and central Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda.
Typically in moist woodlands, but locally in miombo and welltimbered suburban parks and gardens. Generally below 5,000 ft (1,500 m), but reaches 6,000 ft (1,800 m) in central Kenya.
Generally in pairs or small family groups, but flocks of up to 20 birds have been observed at favored fruiting trees or watering points. At onset of the rains in Zimbabwe, there is a marked dispersal away from riverine woods into the surrounding miombo woodlands.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Mainly fruits and berries, while in many parts of southern Africa will readily feed at suburban bird feeders.
Two or three rounded, glossy white eggs are laid in a flimsy, unlined platform of sticks 10–30 ft (3–10 m) above ground, well concealed among matted tree creepers or dense parasitic growth. Both sexes incubate for 22–23 days; hatchlings are covered with a thick grayish brown down. The young become active at about three weeks, when they begin to move out of the nest and into the surrounding branches, and make their first flight at around 38 days.
Locally common in many parts of southern Africa, but in eastern Africa the population is declining due to continuing loss of
and in some areas indiscriminate trapping.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
During the early part of the twentieth century this species was hunted by Zulu warriors in southern Africa for their red flight feathers, which were used as adornments when going into battle. Today the same red primary feathers can be seen in the headdresses of African royalty and elders in Swaziland.
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