Burundi National Bird: The Great Blue Turaco

Burundi, a small country in East Africa, is home to many unique species of birds. But one bird stands out as the Burundi National Bird, a symbol of pride and beauty: the Great Blue Turaco. This stunning bird, with its vibrant blue feathers and distinctive crest, is a beloved part of Burundian culture and history. In this article, we will explore the Great Blue Turaco in depth, discussing its appearance, habitat, behavior, and cultural significance.


The Great Blue Turaco is a large bird, measuring around 70cm in length and weighing up to 700g. Its most striking feature is its bright blue plumage, which covers its head, neck, and upper wings. The blue feathers are offset by a white patch on the throat and a red patch around the eyes. The bird’s crest is made up of long, green feathers that can be raised or lowered at will. The tail feathers are a mixture of blue and green, with white tips. Overall, the Great Blue Turaco is a stunning bird that is instantly recognizable and unforgettable.


The Great Blue Turaco is found in the tropical and subtropical forests of East Africa, from southern Sudan to western Tanzania. It prefers dense, humid forests with plenty of fruit trees, which make up a large part of its diet. The bird is arboreal, spending most of its time in the trees and rarely coming to the ground. It is most commonly found in montane forests, but can also be seen in lowland forests and gallery forests along rivers.


The Great Blue Turaco is a social bird that lives in groups of up to 10 individuals. It is most active in the morning and late afternoon, when it feeds on fruit and leaves. The bird has a distinctive call, which is a loud, deep, throaty “kow-kow-kow.” It also has a variety of other vocalizations, including whistles, squawks, and grunts. The bird is monogamous, with pairs staying together for several years and sharing in the tasks of nesting and caring for young.

Cultural Significance of Burundi National Bird

The Great Blue Turaco has been a part of Burundian culture for centuries. In traditional folklore, the bird was believed to have magical powers, including the ability to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It was also associated with royalty and was used as a symbol of power and authority. In modern times, the Great Blue Turaco was officially declared the national bird of Burundi in 2004, cementing its place as an important part of the country’s identity.

Conservation Status of Burundi National Bird

While the Great Blue Turaco is not currently listed as endangered, its habitat is under threat from deforestation and habitat loss. The bird is also sometimes hunted for its meat and feathers. Efforts are being made to protect the bird and its habitat, including the establishment of protected areas and education programs to raise awareness of its importance.


The Great Blue Turaco is a truly remarkable bird, with its stunning appearance, unique habitat, and important cultural significance. As Burundi’s national bird, it represents the country’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. While the bird faces threats from habitat loss and hunting, efforts to protect it and its habitat are underway. By continuing to appreciate and value the Great Blue Turaco, we can help ensure that this magnificent bird remains a cherished part of Burundian culture for generations to come.


  • What is the Great Blue Turaco’s scientific name?

The Great Blue Turaco is known scientifically as Corythaeola cristata.

  • How long do Great Blue Turacos live?

Great Blue Turacos can live up to 20 years in the wild

  • What do Great Blue Turacos eat?

Great Blue Turacos primarily feed on fruit and leaves, but they may also eat insects and small animals.

  • How can I see a Great Blue Turaco in the wild?

If you’re interested in seeing a Great Blue Turaco in the wild, your best bet is to visit one of the national parks or protected areas in East Africa where they live. A knowledgeable guide can help you spot them and learn more about their behavior and habitat.

  • Are Great Blue Turacos kept as pets?

While some people may keep Great Blue Turacos as pets, this is not recommended due to the bird’s specialized dietary and habitat needs, as well as the ethical concerns surrounding captive wildlife. It is always best to appreciate these birds in their natural habitat.

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