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Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri
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This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is believed to have a moderately small population, which is suspected to be declining owing to the effects of forest exploitation, clearing for agriculture and capture for trade.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

40cm, 227-283g. One of the 'green turaco' group, with predominantly glossy greenish-blue plumage. Highly distinctive white-tipped crimson crest and crimson nape. White line in front of eye separate from white line extending backwards from below the eye by a dark loral spot. 

Distribution and population
Tauraco fischeri inhabits coastal and riverine forest and woodland in Kenya, north-eastern Tanzania and southern Somalia. In Kenya and Tanzania, it is frequent to common (Fry et al. 1988, Seddon et al. 1999) in coastal forests from Boni south to Tanga, inland along the Tana River, and up to 1,500 m in the Usambara Mountains (Fry et al. 1988) where a population of over 1,000 individuals is thought to reside (L. Borghesio in litt. 2010). The subspecies T. f. zanzibaricus, endemic to Zanzibar (N. Baker in litt. 1999), was thought to number only 25-50 birds (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999), but following surveys in June-July 2001 the population has been estimated at c.1,400 individuals (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). In Somalia, there are now probably fewer than 50 individuals left (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999), all in the lower Jubba valley, where up to 80% of the riverine forest has been cleared in less than 30 years (Madgwick 1986, Ash and Miskell 1998); there is thus little hope that the species will persist there. The total population is unknown but assumed to be 2,500-9,999 individuals. Although a limited time series of data suggests the population is Eastern Usambara is stable (L. Borghesio in litt. 2010), the population as a whole is probably declining due to trapping and the clearance of coastal forests (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Population justification
The total population was thought to be very small, at no more than 2,500 birds (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999), but the recently revised population estimate of c.1,400 individuals for Zanzibar and over 1,000 in the Eastern Usambara, Tanzania (L. Borghesio in litt. 2010) suggests that the total population estimate should be recalculated. The population is thus assumed to fall within the range 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Although a limited time series of data suggests a sub-population is Eastern Usambara is stable (Borghesio 2007, L. Borghesio in litt. 2010), the population is suspected to be in decline owing to the ongoing threats from habitat clearance and trapping,

This species inhabits forest and wooded thickets, favouring a canopy and sub-canopy of mature fruiting trees (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Although sometimes recorded in degraded habitats, e.g. cultivated areas with a few remaining trees (Fry et al. 1988), it is much rarer in this habitat (Borghesio et al. 2008) and it is not clear whether populations can persist without tracts of intact forest (Fanshawe 1995, L. Bennun in litt. 1999). It primarily feeds on fruit, in particular the berries of Pachystela brevipes, but also takes flower buds, young leaf shoots and insects (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Its nest is a fragile platform of twigs placed in a tree 3-10 m above the ground. It lays two eggs, and the incubation period is 22-23 days (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

It is threatened primarily by trapping and the clearance of coastal forests (del Hoyo et al. 1997). During the 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of birds were exported from Tanzania for the cagebird trade, with many more perishing en route, and this had a serious impact on numbers in the Usambaras (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999). Trade in live birds from Tanzania is still a significant threat (N. Baker in litt. 1999), although a recently imposed quota system is helping to limit its impact (Seddon et al. 1999). On Zanzibar, there is a high rate of habitat degradation, with only 16% of the habitat occupied by the species showing signs of low, rather than high, human impact (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Its habitat on Zanzibar is threatened mainly by firewood collection, but also by charcoal production, timber extraction and extensive clearing of land for agriculture (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in the Shimba Hills National Park (del Hoyo et al. 1997). On Zanzibar, 44% of the population is found within protected areas (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys across the species's range to obtain a new total population estimate. Carry out regular surveys to track population trends. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Monitor rates of trapping. Monitor levels of trade. Enforce, extend and tighten quotas for trade in the species. Consider uplisting the species to CITES Appendix I. Increase the number of protected areas that incorporate the species's habitat. Enforce existing laws on Zanzibar demanding payment for timber harvesting on public land (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Create plantations as a source of firewood on Zanzibar (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Use T. fischeri as a flagship species in awareness campaigns, at least on Zanzibar (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003).

Ash, J. S.; Miskell, J. E. 1998. Birds of Somalia. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Borghesio, L.; John, J. R. M.; Joho, M.; Mkongewa, V.; Mulungu, E.; Njilima, F.; Cordeiro, N. J. 2007. Les oiseaux menacés des monts de l'Usambara Oriental peuvent-ils coexister avec les populations humaines? CEPA Magazine: 7-10.

Borghesio, L.; John, J. R. M.; Mulungu, E.; Mkongewa, V.; Joho, M.; Cordeiro, N. J. 2008. Observations of threatened birds in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 15(1): 59-70.

Borghesio, L.; Kariuki Ndang'ang'a, P. 2003. Habitat selection and the conservation status of Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri on Uguja, Tanzania. Oryx 37(4): 444-453.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Fanshawe, J. H. 1995. The effects of selective logging on the bird community of Arabuko-Sokoke forest, Kenya. Dissertation. Ph.D., University of Oxford.

Fry, C. H.; Keith, S.; Urban, E. K. 1988. The birds of Africa vol III. Academic Press, London.

Madgwick, J. 1986. Somalia research project: an ecological study of the remaining areas of riverine forest in the Jubba valley, Southern Somalia. University College London, London.

Seddon, N.; Ekstrom, J. M. M.; Capper, D. R.; Isherwood, I. S.; Muna, R.; Pople, R. G.; Tarimo, E.; Timothy, J. 1999. Notes on the ecology and conservation status of key bird species in Nilo and Nguu North Forest Reserves, Tanzania. Bird Conservation International 9: 9-28.

Seddon, N.; Ekstrom, J. M. M.; Capper, D. R.; Isherwood, I. S.; Muna, R.; Pople, R. G.; Tarimo, E.; Timothy, J. 1999. The importance of the Nilo and Nguu North Forest Reserves for the conservation of montane forest birds in Tanzania. Biological Conservation 87: 59-72.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Evans, M., Martin, R, O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Taylor, J.

Baker, N., Bennun, L., Borghesio, L., Turner, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tauraco fischeri. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Fischer’s turaco (Tauraco fischeri) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Musophagidae (Turacos)
Species name author (Reichenow, 1878)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 47,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change