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.
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.
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.
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.
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.