Tag Archives: Knysna turaco

Knysna Rises with Turacos

The history of Knysna will forever be defined by the Great Knysna Fire that engulfed our area of the Garden Route on the 7th June 2017 and in the days that followed.  The fire, fanned by high berg winds, swept over drought-stricken plantations, jumped the lagoon and brought death and destruction to everything in its path.  Over 800 homes were destroyed and the reeling inhabitants were left (and still are) counting the cost of South Africa’s worst fire in living memory.  However, it wasn’t only the people who were affected.  The habitats of birds and animals were greatly compromised and the townsfolk quickly stepped up to the plate (so to speak) to water and feed these poor displaced creatures.

Knysna Turaco

Our house mercifully was spared, which is an absolute wonder because it is situated on the edge of a little forest that was also affected by the fire.  We immediately set up four different feeding stations near our birdbath.  It was amazing to see the numbers and varieties of thirsty and hungry birds that came to our garden.  Species that we’d never seen here before. One bird that gives us enormous pleasure and delight when it visits us is the beautiful Knysna Turaco or Knysna Lourie (Tauraco corythaix).

Knysna Turaco

These birds, whose habitat is cool forest areas, are by nature rather shy and reluctant to come out into the open to eat.  Times were dire for them and after the fire they soon made themselves at home in our forest.

Knysna Turaco

Now, four months after the fire, the Turacos are still daily visitors and we are happy to say that they aren’t so scared of us anymore.  Many a morning I find them waiting on the fence or in nearby trees for me to feed them and they don’t fly away while I’m putting their food out.

Knysna Turaco Knysna Turaco

I apologise for the poor quality of the above photo, but I put it in here to show the beautiful red underwings of the Turaco when it flies.

The Knysna Turaco is the emblem of our town and it wasn’t long after the fire that Dominic Morel designed a new logo for us – a Turaco with its wings up symbolising Knysna Rising from the ashes.  This was to let the world know that far from being destroyed, Knysna would rise again and be open for business as usual.

#KnysnaRises

Our town is slowly but surely being rebuilt, and like the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. And we’ve made some new feathered friends that we are privileged to see every day.

Bird of the week – Week 68 – Grey go-away bird

One of the common sounds to be heard in the dry savanna woodlands of southern Africa is a loud nasal “quare“, which, with a little stretch of the aural imagination may be interpreted as “Go-away!” This is the call of the appropriately named Grey go-away bird.  It is a very vocal bird, especially if it is disturbed and, being quite gregarious when not breeding, its presence is not likely to be missed as it makes it clear that your presence is not appreciated.  It is often found near water and will frequently venture into parks and suburban gardens.

Grey go-away bird

The Grey go-away bird, previously called the Grey lourie, is very distinctive, being about 50 cm in length and all grey in colour.  It has an impressive grey crest that it raises often; the eyes, bill, legs and feet are all black.  It is certainly the least colourful of the southern African turacos (previously called louries), most of which are clothed in magnificent greens, reds and purples.  The sexes are alike in both size and plumage.

Grey go-away bird

It is an agile climber and is often found clambering through the canopy as it looks for the fruit, leaves, flowers and insects on which it feeds.  Occasionally it will descend to feed on the ground.  At night it may be found roosting in small groups.

Grey go-away bird

The Grey go-away bird is monogamous and builds a flimsy platform of twigs as a nest, and does not line this with any soft material, usually locating the nest high up in a thorny tree.  The female lays a clutch of two or three eggs that hatch after an incubation period of about 28 days.

Grey go-away bird

The scientific name for the Grey go-away bird is Corythaixoides concolor; Corythaixoides from the Latin for “like corythaix” (referring to Tauraco corythaix – the Knysna turaco) and concolor from the Latin for uniformly coloured.  Well, it certainly is uniformly coloured, and in shape and size it is similar to the Knysna turaco, so I guess the name is pretty accurate.

Grey go-away bird