The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Knysna Turaco / Knysna Loerie

Afrikaans name: Knysnaloerie

A beautiful Knysna Turaco in the aviary at New Germany Nature Reserve

Knysna Turaco

Photo © Steven Herbert

Tauraco corythaix

Knysna Loerie behaviour

This is one very beautiful bird but unfortunately, they are not always easy to see. They spend a lot of time in the foliage of trees or bushes where their green colouration blends in with the foliage. They can, however, often be seen flying between trees when their stunning red wings are visible. For many years this species has been known as the Knysna Loerie, or Knysna Lourie, and this name is still used commonly.

Knysna Loerie appearance

These turacos are around 40 cm in length. They have a small reddish bill and predominantly green plumage. There are white markings on the face and crest. In flight the most obvious colour is the bright red in their wings: this is thought to be a way of confusing predators which tend to focus on the red which promptly disappears when they land. A Knysna Turaco in flight

Knysna Turaco

Photo © Steven Herbert

Knysna Loerie diet

These birds love fruit and the list of trees that they feed off is way too long to list here. They do vary their diet slightly with seeds and insects.

Knysna Turaco breeding

They have quite an extended breeding which runs from May to February. Both sexes assist in building the nest which consists mainly of twigs. It is placed fairly high in a tree and is hidden amongst the foliage. 1 or 2 eggs are laid and are cared for by both sexes. The chicks take around 4 weeks before they are ready to start attempting to fly.

Where do you find a Knysna Loerie?

The Knysna Turaco is endemic to South Africa and Swaziland, with the biggest populations in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. They favour densely wooded areas, such as riverine forests, where they clamber around in the treetops.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 108

The Doves, Parrots, Louries & Cuckoos of Southern Africa - Author: M.K. Rowan - Published: 1983 - Page: 207

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 137

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 139

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 23

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 165

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 232

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 224

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 318

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 322

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 230

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 238

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 206

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 206

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 65

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 156

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 116

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 39

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 121

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 138

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 66

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 111

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 111

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 150


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List of South African Birds

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