I started out feeling a bit sorry for this guy.
I felt he must be having a little identity crisis, because he’s been renamed. I’ve always known him as a Knysna Lourie, but at some point his name got changed to the Knysna Turaco. Now, if I mention the Lourie word, people look anxious, cough politely and sometimes mutter.
He’s well known for his elusiveness due to hiding high up in forest canopies, so he is always exciting to see, especially close up like this.
But then he started causing trouble. You see, I saw him in a bird sanctuary in Knysna a few years ago, and so I have always assumed he was a Knysna Turaco. Stands to reason that he’s close to home. I see him in Knysna, he must be from Knysna.
Then when I started writing this post, I had a look at the wikipedia article on him, and thought that he didn’t quite look right. His eyes and crest didn’t have quite the right kind of white stripes. It turns out after a bit of googling and chatting to real birding people that this little fellow is quite possibly a Guinea Turaco, from equatorial Africa, and so a very very long way from home.
Now I have even more reason to feel sorry for him. They changed his name and moved him far from home. Perhaps he’s on a witness protection program?
Or he could just be a juvenile Knysna Turaco after all, which have less pronounced markings than the adults. Bugger this bird identification thing for a lark.
Some really cool trivia … the green pigment of the Turaco is a very unusual. Called turacoverdin, it is one of the few true green pigments found in birds, and is manufactured from the high quantities of copper in the Turaco’s diet of fruit and plant matter. It is thought that many months of this diet are required to accumulate enough copper to produce the pigment and make the plumage as bright as it is here.