Words & Pictures by Koos Pieters
Purple- Crested Turaco
Turacos are truly remarkable birds and we are privileged to have no fewer than six local species in southern Africa. Every one of these birds is impressive, but very few living creations can be more breathtakingly beautiful than a Purple-crested Turaco − previously known as a Purplecrested Lourie – and they are particularly beautiful if you find them prominently perched in the open, or drinking water in a sunny spot, as in the picture above. As the bird bends forward to scoop up water, it displays a remarkable array of colours: its feathers showcase a wide spectrum of colour in shimmering, iridescent splendour.
To me, this bird represents the Queen of Sheba of the avian world. Looking at this spectacular species, one can only assume that this amazing display of colour and mesmerising beauty must have influenced many human members of the fairer sex to attempt the replication of such beauty − by means of facial make-up, and, in some cases, by changing the colour of their hair. In fact, some women dye their hair to match the purple splendour of this bird.
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