Monotypic order

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

These birds have long tails, short bills and short, round wings. They are weak fliers, but they can walk, run, and leap on tree twigs and branches. The birds move so well on their feet because they are able to bend their outer toes forward and backwards.

Seventeen Musophagidae species are very colorful. Turacos (TOOR-ah-koz) living in forests have blue, green, or purple plumage, with red in their wing feathers. The species living in grasslands are mainly gray and brown. The great blue turaco is the largest bird in this family. From head-to-tail, it measures 28 to 30 inches (70 to 76 centimeters). Other birds in the family range in length from 16 to 21 inches (40 to 53 centimeters).

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Turacos and plantain eaters are unique to Africa. They live in sub-Saharan Africa, the part of the continent below the Sahara Desert. The birds are found in the countries of Angola, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, and Burundi.

HABITAT

Members of the Musophagidae family are arboreal, meaning they live in trees. Their habitat ranges from tropical forests thick with trees to grasslands, where there are few trees.

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