Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)

Jan Van Duinen
Jan Van Duinen

Great Blue Turaco is the largest species of the Turaco family. The adult has turquoise-blue upperparts, including wings and tail. The tail is long and wide, and shows a broad, black subterminal band. Most birds have narrow blue tips. The outer rectrices are partially edged yellow. The wings lack the crimson primaries of other turacos.On the underparts, neck and upper breast are turquoise-blue. Lower breast and belly are greenish-yellow, as the undertail feathers. The tail has black subterminal band. Lower belly, undertail-coverts and tibial feathers are chestnut.
On the turquoise-blue head, there is a conspicuous blue-black raised crest on forecrown and crown. Chin, throat, cheeks and outer eye-ring are greyish. The large convex bill is bright yellow with red tip. The eyes are reddish-brown, surrounded by bare dark turquoise-blue eye-ring. Legs and feet are blackish. Sexes are similar.
Great Blue Turaco have territories which are maintained throughout the year. Like many of the turacos, Great blues are rather shy and seldom descend to the ground except for drinking and bathing. They are quite agile when climbing throughout the branches. Seldom alone, they may be in pairs, family or social groups of up to seven individuals, with several groups often gathering at a single large fruit tree. These turacos are not good fliers, flying short distances and soaring to lower levels of the forest. Courtship involves calling, chasing, feeding each other, raising the crest and the long tail. They call early in the morning and late in the afternoon. They best seen only in Kakamega forest in western Kenya and all the forest in Uganda.

Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus)

J.F.L Van Duinen

This species is commonly seen in Kenya especially around Tugen Hills, Kakamega Forest and Cherangani Hills. It is an easy species to identify and birders will have less difficulty spotting this species even in primary forest habitat as its flight betray his presence.These birds are mostly frugivorous, with the fruits of Ficus trees composing more than half of their diet. Overall, they are known to eat the fruits of over 41 plant genera, which they forage by hopping from branch to branch in the rainforest canopy and reaching for fruit with the tip of the bill, which they then swallow whole. They also consume birds, eggs, insects, bats, snails, lizards, molluscs, other small animal prey, mosses, lichens, and fungi. Sexual dimorphism is exhibited by these species, and male tend to be slightly bigger than their female counter parts.

Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae)

Photo@Jan F.L Van Duinen
Photo@Jan F.L Van Duinen

Ross’s or Lady Ross as it sometime called is a medium-sized bird, with a long tail and broad, round wings. They have three toes on each foot that point forward, while the fourth toe can be rotated forward or backwards. Males and females differ in that females may have a greenish beak. This Beautiful Turaco is seen in mostly on the western side of Kenya Great Rift Valley mostly in areas around Tugen Hills and El geyo escarpment. Ross’s Turaco is a very social bird, seen mostly moving is a small noisy flock of 2 to 7 birds. They spent most of their time among trees in search for fruits until evening when they nest solitary on a plat form of twigs.It is an easy bird to Identify because nothing else in our region is like it.

November 2013 and January 2014 Scheduled Birding Trip to North and Western Kenya Birding Trip

This 17 days trip will take you to Nairobi, Mt. Kenya region,Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Lake Baringo, Kakamega, Lake Victoria, Masai Mara and Lake Naivasha. Some of the highlight species expected on the this include;Turner’s Eremomela, Abbot’s Starling, and Sharpes’s Longclaw, Rufous-bellied Heron,Allen’s Gallinule, Hartlaub’s Bustard, White-crested, Great Blue and Black-billed Turaco, White-faced Scops Owl, Gambaga Flycatcher and Boran Cisticola