“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings”~
Image by turtlemom4bacon
~ Victor Hugo (French romantic Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, 1802-1885) ~
~ Saw this pretty bird with the bright blue feathers on its head inside Lorikeets Landing at the Lowry Zoo, Tampa ~
** Special thanks to Peggy Collins and John D. Willis for the correct name of this bird which is the " Great Blue Turaco" **
Great Blue Turaco ~
The Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) is a turaco, a group of African near-passerines. It is not only the largest turaco but the largest species in the diverse Cuculiformes order (which includes the cuckoos). Generally, the Great Blue Turaco is 70–76 cm (28–30 in) in length with a mass of 800–1,231 g (1.8–2.71 lb). In the Bandundu province of the DR Congo, the Great Blue Turaco is actively hunted for meat and feathers. The blue and yellow tail feathers are prized for making good luck talismans. In the area of Bandundu around the city of Kikwit, it is called "Kolonvo".
The Great Blue Turaco (Corytheola cristata) has to be one of the more challenging species. Whilst these stunning birds provide hours of entertainment with their boisterous and ungainly nature they can prove to be a bit of a handful. Aggression can be sporadic and spontaneous and can disappear just as quickly, yet some individuals can be incredibly shy.
Housing this species was a matter of personal preference. They adapt well and thrive in both heated glass aviaries or outside flights in sub-zero temperatures. The species is a frugivore but are also very happy to consume leafy material. This can be supplied in various forms with lettuce being of particular interest. The diet itself heavily depends upon the resources available. Most fruits are accepted, the softer and more juicy fruits being preferred, cucumber should also be added to this list of fruit. The diet as with most softbill species should be enhanced with a vitamin/mineral supplement and the provision of a fruit-based softbill mix.
Perching, as with most turaco species is paramount and the provision of strong and securely hung perching is necessary. The Blue Turaco is a great fan of ‘crashing around’ which can be misconstrued as being quite deliberate, especially during an early weekend morning! Fortunately the species isn’t destructive so aviaries can be well planted. Certain species of fruit bearing tree can be targeted for green forage so to plant expensive tropical fruit trees in the aviary may be a mistake. Otherwise the species rarely comes to ground and shows little destructive quality for the majority of aviary plants. Some damage in the form of leaf shredding may be seen on plants such as the banana, but in this case the plant shows no ill effects caused by the damage.
The blues are short-range strong fliers and will readily use the space afforded them. As mentioned secure perching is required in all areas of the aviary and if given the option the birds will bounce across an aviary rather than fly despite their agility in the air.