restricted access Guineafowl and turaco
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Crested Guineafowl L: 46–52 cm (18–20") A large but small-headed, black, ground bird, perfectly lined with rows of hundreds of bluish-white spots . It has a plumed ‘toupee’ above the naked face, and a distinctive ivorycoloured bill and blood-red eye . In flight, its darker plumage and pale patch in the wing distinguish it from the Helmeted Guineafowl (page 65) . This species is locally common only along the Levuvu River in Kruger’s far north (especially Pafuri), and rare elsewhere, such as in the far eastern Lebombo range . It prefers thick and wet riverine forest where it forages on the ground for berries, seeds and plant matter – and has a fascinating habit of associating with Vervet Monkeys, following troops and foraging on dropped fruits and faeces . The call is similar to that of the Helmeted Guineafowl, but with a more tinny quality . Due to their constant busyness, guineafowl are considered as symbols of industry and are revered by traditional societies. They are also thought to be protectors, and despite their tastiness, are seldom killed for the pot. Guineafowl and turaco 164 Purple-crestedTuraco L: 43 cm (17") This unmistakable large, horizontal, slender, long-necked bird of the treetops, has a dark blue tail and wings, an iridescent deep-purple crest, a pale rusty-orange upper back, an olive-pink suffusion to the underparts, an iridescent green face and a scarlet eye-ring . In flight, the wings are fiery red, making this one of Kruger’s most striking birds . It is common in the park, with an estimated population of at least 4,000, and favours dense woodland, particularly along usually dry riverbeds . It clambers acrobatically along branches searching for fruits and insects, often leaning forward with its head in a dipped position . The call is a distinctive and characteristic croaking “khoh-khoh-khoh-khoh….” that gets progressively louder before stopping suddenly . Although the coloration in the plumage of birds comes from a variety of widespread pigments like carotenoids, turacos have two unique pigments: turacin, comprising 6% copper, giving them richer and more vibrant red coloration; and turacoverdin, which gives them their greener hues. BIRDS OF FORESTS AND RIVERINE THICKET 165 ...