Bannerman’s turaco (Tauraco bannermani)

French: Touraco de Bannerman, Touraco doré
Spanish: Turaco de Bannerman
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderCuculiformes
FamilyMusophagidae
GenusTauraco (1)
SizeSize: 40 – 45 cm (2)
Weight200 – 250 g (2)

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

With its diagnostic red crest and colourful plumage this stunning bird is unmistakable (4) (5). Bannerman’s turaco has a grey face, pale, golden-green neck and breast, and darker green upper parts (4) (5). The belly, undertail coverts and rump are blackish with a greenish wash, while the uppertail-coverts and tail are a glossy purplish blue (4). In flight, bright crimson wing patches become visible and add to the species’ vibrant splendour (5). The heavy, powerful bill is yellow with a dark red culmen and exposed nostrils (4). This secretive bird is difficult to spot, but has a loud, distinctive call that can be heard for up to 1 km away (5).

Mainly restricted to the Bamenda-Banso Highlands of western Cameroon, where Mount Oku (Kilum-Ijim forest) is the key stronghold, but small populations exist on nearby Mount Mbam and at Fossimondi and Fomenji to the south-west (2) (5).

This arboreal bird occupies the canopy and middle stratum of montane forest, and can survive in degraded, secondary forest provided sufficient tall fruiting trees remain (4) (5). Found from 1,700 to 2,950 m above sea level, apparently moving mostly at higher altitudes (2,200 – 2,600 m) during the breeding season, probably to make the most of seasonal fruiting patterns (5).

Information on the biology of Bannerman’s turaco is extremely limited, but fruits are believed to make up the bulk of its diet, primarily the fruits and berries of Podocarpus milanjensis, as well as figs (4).

Breeding takes place during the early rainy season from March to June. Nests are rather flimsy platforms of twigs hidden in trees or bushes among a tangle of creepers or the thick foliage on outer branches, and have been recorded anywhere between 1.5 and 10 m above ground. Clutches typically contain two white eggs, which are incubated by both the male and female (4).

Bannerman’s turaco is severely threatened by habitat destruction, with the Kilum-Ijim forest having halved in size between 1963 and 1986 (5), and the remaining forest still being cleared or modified (2). Forest fires are a major cause of habitat loss, as well as forest clearance for agriculture, grazing, firewood and timber. Since this species seems reluctant to cross open habitats, the small pockets of birds that remain in forest fragments are in imminent danger of extinction (5). As a result, Bannerman’s turaco is only thought likely to survive if the c.100 square km of forest on Mount Oku (Kilum-Ijim forest) is preserved (2).

With the support of the BirdLife International Kilum-Ijim Forest Project, local communities are now actively involved in conserving montane forest (2) (5). The condition of the forest and its endemic birds are monitored, as well as the overall extent of forest cover in the Bamenda Highlands. In 2000, community-based conservation activities were also extended to other forest fragments in the Bamenda Highlands (5). Alternatives to forest clearance have been offered to farmers, such as bee-keeping, with the honey produced fetching a good price at local markets, and plentiful honey requiring a healthy forest (2).

For more information on Bannerman’s turaco see:

For more information about the Kilum-Ijim Forest Project see:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. UNEP-WCMC (February, 2007)
    http://www.unep-wcmc.org/species/data/species_sheets/bannerma.htm
  3. CITES (January, 2007)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World – Sandgrouse To Cuckoos. Vol. 4. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  5. BirdLife International (February, 2007)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sites/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=2127&m=0