Family Turacos (Musophagidae)

Least Concern

White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis)


French: Touraco à joues blanches German: Weißohrturako Spanish: Turaco cariblanco

Corythaix leucotis


, 1835,

northern Ethiopia


Previously thought to be closely related to T. hartlaubi, but this not supported in phylogenetic study#R. Race donaldsoni said to be “found east of the Rift Valley in the… Bale mountains, where… at least it is found alongside nominate leucotis supporting the view for its specific separation”#R. It has elongate feathers of hindcrown dull reddish-brown, rather than the dull blackish-blue of nominate, on which this colour starts earlier on the mid-crown so that most of crown looks indigo, rather than green and then maroon (score 3); otherwise very similar. Clarification needed as to whether the two co-occur or are parapatric in Bale Mts. A score of 3 for parapatry and 3 for crown colour would mean that any small vocal difference would be sufficient to establish the split. Nominate race has hybridized in the wild with T. ruspolii#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. l. leucotis (Rüppell, 1835) – White-cheeked Turaco – Eritrea S through Ethiopian Highlands (SW Arussi, Shoa and Sidamo) and into E South Sudan (Boma Plateau).
  • T. l. donaldsoni (Sharpe, 1895) – Maroon-crested Turaco – SC Ethiopian Highlands in N Harrar, Arussi and N Bale.
  • Descriptive notes

    42–43 cm; 200–315 g. Adult has forehead, neck, throat, breast and upper­parts green; rounded crest and hindcrown glossy dark blue, with a large circular white... read more


    Main call a series of raucous cawing notes with a rhythmic delivery unlike congeners: typically two... read more


    Typically occurs in montane Podocarpus and juniper (Juniperus) forest from 2200 m... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily fruits and berries of Podocarpus and juniper trees.


    Breeds in Apr in Eritrea, and in Jun–Nov in Ethiopia. Nest is a rather thick platform of dry twigs, very loosely constructed, with a... read more


    Largely sedentary throughout its range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Fairly common in many areas of Podocarpus and juniper forest in Ethiopian Highlands above 2400 m. No known threats at present, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, D.A. & Boesman, P. (2019). White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 November 2019).