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Species Guide
A photo of a Purple-crested Turaco (Gallirex porphyreolophus)
Purple-crested Turaco

Purple-crested Turaco

Gallirex porphyreolophus

The Purple-crested Turaco, or Purple-crested Loerie as it's known in South Africa, is a bird of vibrant contrasts and noble bearing. It boasts a regal purple crest atop a verdant green head, encircled by a striking red eye-ring. Its bill is a deep black, while the neck and chest are adorned in shades of green and brown. The body is cloaked in a rich purple, with the red flight feathers adding a dash of fiery color.

Identification Tips

When observing this species, look for the distinctive purple crest and the red ring around the eyes. The combination of green, brown, and purple plumage, along with the red flight feathers, makes it unmistakable in its native habitat.


The Purple-crested Turaco is a denizen of moist woodlands and evergreen forests, where it flits among the foliage in search of fruit.


This species graces the skies across a range of African countries, including Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its southernmost range extends to the Mtamvuna River, straddling the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.


These birds are large frugivores, known for their role in seed dispersal. They carry cycad seeds over long distances from feeding to nesting sites. After consuming fruit, they regurgitate the seeds intact, facilitating germination in the vicinity of their resting places.

Diet and Feeding

The Purple-crested Turaco is primarily frugivorous, consuming fruits whole and playing a crucial role in the ecosystem by dispersing seeds that germinate effectively. Their digestive process for invasive plants still results in high rates of germination, with low seed retention compared to other species like the invasive rose-ringed parakeet.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Purple-crested Turaco as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats to its survival at present.

Purple-crested Turaco Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Purple-crested Turaco Fun Facts

Did you know?
Purple-crested Turacos are very important seed dispersers, carrying plant seeds long distances between their feeding and nesting sites.
Did you know?
The Purple-crested Turaco is the national bird of Eswatini

Purple-crested Turacos on Birda


More Turacos

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