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Species Guide
A photo of a Ross's Turaco (Tauraco rossae)
Ross's Turaco

Ross's Turaco

Tauraco rossae

In the verdant canopies of Africa, one may encounter the Ross's turaco, or Lady Ross's turaco, a bird whose plumage is a tapestry of bluish-purple. This avian jewel is adorned with a striking red crown and matching flight feathers, a sight to behold as it flutters through the foliage.

Identification Tips

The Ross's turaco exhibits minimal sexual dimorphism, making males and females alike a challenge to distinguish. Both sexes boast the same deep blue hue, but keen observers may note the female's beak tinged with yellow-green, while the male's shines a bright yellow. Both genders possess a medium orange forehead shield. Their wings are rounded and short, suited for brief, energetic flights. These birds typically measure 15 to 18 inches in length and tip the scales at just under one pound. They are robust creatures, with potential lifespans ranging from 8 to 20 years.


Ross's turacos are denizens of woodlands, open forests, and riparian zones across a swath of African nations. They thrive in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Preferring to avoid dense forests, they remain resilient in the face of habitat encroachment by agriculture.

Diet and Feeding

A frugivorous diet sustains the Ross's turaco, as it feasts on fruits, flowers, and seeds from both wild and cultivated plants. Renowned as prolific seed dispersers, they also partake in insects like termites and snails, particularly during the breeding season. Despite their family name suggesting a penchant for plantains, they show a marked preference for figs and are often deemed agricultural pests due to their opportunistic feeding habits.


Monogamous pairs of Ross's turacos share the responsibilities of incubation and chick rearing. They lay 2 to 3 eggs, which after approximately 25 days, give way to hatchlings. The young spend 4 to 7 weeks in the nest before fledging, yet they gain independence even before mastering flight, opting to clamber through the canopy. Sexual maturity is reached at one year, and these birds often remain in extended family groups, where communal care for the young is a common practice.


Ross's turacos are non-migratory, seldom straying far from their birthplace unless driven by scarcity of food. They exhibit increased territoriality during the breeding season, particularly towards potential predators or unfamiliar avian interlopers.

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Ross's turaco as Least Concern, a testament to its enduring presence despite environmental pressures.

Similar Species

While the Ross's turaco is unique in its coloration and characteristics, it shares its family with other turacos, such as the violet turaco, which is more commonly found in captivity.

Ross's Turaco Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Ross's Turacos on Birda

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Stéphanie DLW
04 Jul 2024 - 5:16am

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