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Books about Turacos

This page lists books that are totally or partially about Turacos. The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.


Turacos are part of the Musophagidae family which also includes plantain-eaters and go-away-birds. The species that comprise the family are listed below.

Turacos are restricted to sub-Saharan Africa.

Guinea Turaco
Tauraco persa

Livingstone's Turaco
Tauraco livingstonii

Schalow's Turaco
Tauraco schalowi

Knysna Turaco
Tauraco corythaix

Black-billed Turaco
Tauraco schuettii

White-crested Turaco
Tauraco leucolophus

Fischer's Turaco
Tauraco fischeri

Yellow-billed Turaco
Tauraco macrorhynchus

Bannerman's Turaco
Tauraco bannermani

Red-crested Turaco
Tauraco erythrolophus

Hartlaub's Turaco
Tauraco hartlaubi

White-cheeked Turaco
Tauraco leucotis

Ruspoli's Turaco
Tauraco ruspolii

Purple-crested Turaco
Tauraco porphyreolophus

Ruwenzori Turaco
Ruswenzorornis johnstoni

Violet Turaco
Musophaga violacea

Ross's Turaco
Musophaga rossae

Great Blue Turaco
Corythaeola cristata

Bare-faced Go-away-bird
Corythaixoides personatus

Grey Go-away-bird
Corythaixoides concolor

White-bellied Go-away-bird
Corythaixoides leucogaster

Western Plantain-eater
Crinifer piscator

Eastern Plantain-eater
Crinifer zonurus


Turacos: A Natural History of the Musophagidae

Joseph M. Forshaw

Illustrations: William T. Cooper

Nokomis Editions


"With publication by Nokomis Editions of Turacos: A Portfolio of All Species the masterful paintings by William Cooper were, for the first time, reproduced at their original size. This placed primary focus on the remarkable illustrations of all species in one of the world's most spectacular bird groups, and the accompanying text by Joseph Forshaw was written to complement the illustrations. Nokomis Editions now proudly announces publication of Turacos: A Natural History of the Musophagidae, in which emphasis is placed on the many fascinating aspects of the natural history of these spectacularly beautiful birds, with three new plates from William Cooper. Prompted by a recent upsurge of interest and research, which have produced much new information about turacos, Joseph Forshaw has prepared an entirely new text covering physical attributes, taxonomy, distribution, habitat preferences and the general ecology of all species, and he points out that, despite our improving knowledge, an element of mystery still surrounds these birds. Poor fossil records hinder our understanding of their evolutionary history and affinities with other birds. Despite several attempts to link the family with other groups, the traditional approach is to place them alone in a separate order, so emphasising their distinctiveness. The most distinctive feature is the presence in their plumage of two complex copper pigments not known to occur in any other living animal, and we are compelled to ask why are these pigments present? Also, how important are visually minor differences in facial pattern for species recognition? Are differences in bill shapes associated with foraging techniques, and what roles do subtle differences in diet play in allowing species lo coexist? What functions are served by the loud, familiar call-notes, and what courtship rituals are in place? Why should the downy chicks be equipped with wing-claws to enable them to clamber amidst branches well before they can fly? These and other queries are addressed in this scholarly work, which is the first fully illustrated monograph to be published since 1860 and the only volume covering all species."

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Working Bibliography of Cuckoos and Turacos of the World

Johannes Erritzoe and Oscar van Rootselaar

Sponsored by The Danish Ministry of Research and Information Technology, Copenhagen


A 400 page bibliography. Includes a CD-ROM containing the whole reference list for quick searching.

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Turacos: A Portfolio of All Species

William T. Cooper

Limited edition: 290 hand numbered sets

Nokomis Editions


The Portfolio consists of 23 colour plates presented in a beautifully crafted hand made Solander box. The accompanying text by Joseph M. Forshaw is enclosed in a separate cased volume within the Solander box. Each plate is reproduced to its original size, which is 750 mm x 570 mm. The plates were subsequently used in the book Turacos: A Natural History of the Musophagidae.

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Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos

Edited by Josep Del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and Jordi Sargatal

Lynx Edicions


680 pages, 70 colour plates, 250 colour photos, 850 distribution maps.

This volume covers sandgrouse, pigeons and doves, cockatoos, parrots, turacos and cuckoos.

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The Birds of Africa, Volume III: Parrots to Woodpeckers

Editors: C Hilary Fry, Stuart Keith and Emil K Urban

Illustrations: Martin Woodcock and Ian Willis



"This volume completes the non-passerines, dealing with all species occurring on the continent - residents and visitors alike - in the following families: parrots, turacos, cuckoos, owls, nightjars, swifts, colies, kingfishers and their allies, and woodpeckers and their allies. All are illustrated, and all known biological information is included."

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Catalogue Of The Picariae In The Collection Of The British Museum

Catalogue Of The Birds In The British Museum, Volume XIX

Scansores and Coccyges: P.L. Sclater

Indicatoridae, Capitonidae, Cuculidae and Musophagidae: G.E. Shelley

Colour plates: J. Smit (4), J.G. Keulemans (9)

Printed By Order Of The Trustees

Sold by: Longman & Co.; B. Quaritch; Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.; and at the British Museum (Natural History)


From the preface:

"The present volume contains an account of the remaining families of the suborder Scansores, and of those of the suborder Coccyges. The arrangement of three of these families, which are entirely composed of Neotropical forms, was undertaken by Mr. P. L, Sclater, that of the remainder by Captain G. E. Shelley. The numbers of species of the several families, and of the specimens at present in the Collection of the British Museum, are as follows: Indicatoridae, 12; Capitonidae, 112; Rhamphastidae, 59; Galbulidae, 21; Bucconidae, 43; Cuculidae, 176; Musophagidae, 25. Of the 448 species recorded, 32 are not represented in the Museum; but besides the 73 types of species admitted as valid, the Collection contains 50 other typical specimens the names of which are now relegated to the synonymic lists. Of donations not already mentioned on former occasions, I have to refer to the two following, which were specially useful in supplementing the series of specimens catalogued in the present volume: the entire collection of Cuckoos formed by Mr. H. Seebohm, and consisting of 539 specimens; and a valuable series of South-African birds collected by T. and W. Ayres in Natal and the Transvaal for the late Mr. J. H. Gurney, and presented by his son."
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Last updated December 2011