Posted on March 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM by Blog Author
Blank Park Zoo is home to two female White-Cheeked Turacos (Tauraco leucotis) who are about 2 and 7 years old. These ladies can be found in the Discovery Center free-flight area. But you'll have to look closely--when at rest, these birds blend in very well with the surrounding greenery. They generally move around by running and hopping along branches, but if you happen to catch them in a burst of flight, you will see the brilliant red flash of flight feathers!
White-cheeked turacos are an African bird species found in the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan. They prefer tropical montane forests, making the Discovery Center free flight a suitable habitat. Turacos are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, and will spend much of their time feeding. They are frugivores and have also been known to eat insects. To make sure we provide a healthy and well-balanced diet, we offer fresh fruits and vegetables, live insects, and a special pellet made just for fruit-eaters that has all of the nutrients that they need. The turacos also enjoy receiving favorite treats, such as kiwi, as a form of dietary enrichment.
In addition to providing the proper habitat, nutrition and enrichment, keepers also spend time observing the birds in the free flight area. Because the turacos like to spend time way up high, keepers use binoculars to get a good view. One goal our keepers have is to work with the turacos to have them voluntarily come to keepers so we are able to get an up close view and monitor their health, all while allowing the birds to have choice and control in their care. Positive reinforcement training is another important role of our keepers, and we hope that the curious and intelligent turaco ladies have just as much fun as we do working toward this goal. See if you can find both white-cheeked turacos on your next visit to Blank Park Zoo!