The Grey Lourie, also known as the Grey Go-away-bird, Grey Loerie, kwêvoël, and Corythaixoides concolor, is a bird species commonly found in the southern Afrtotropics. This species belongs in the Turaco family, together with its close relatives such as the White-bellied Go-away-bird, Great Blue Turaco, Black-billed Turaco, Yellow-billed Turaco, and Purple-crested Turaco.
The Grey Lourie is dubbed as a “go-away-bird” because of its raucous “go away” call. This bird species was first described by Scottish explorer, zoologist, and ethnologist Sir Andrew Smith KCB in 1833.
Four races of this bird species are recognized. These are the following:
- c. molybdophanes – It has greyer chest plumage than C. c. bechuanae; can be found in Angola, southern Tanzania, and northern Mozambique.
- c. pallidiceps – Found in west Angola, Namibia, and west Botswana
- c. bechuanae – Found in southern Angola, northeastern Namibia, Botsawana, southern Zambia, central Zimbabwe, and northern South Africa
- c. concolor – southern Malawi, western Mozambique, Swaziland, and eastern South Africa
Since Grey Louries occur in a wide range and their general population is constantly rising, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorized them as Least Concern.
Its seven levels of scientific classification are as follows:
Species: C. concolor
The physical characteristics of a Grey Lourie
An adult Grey Lourie has a soft smoky-grey plumage. Its upperparts, flight feathers, and primary coverts are darker grey in color. Its grey tail becomes darker as it reaches the dark brown tip. Meanwhile, its underparts, throat, and chin are darker than the belly, while the breast is greyish-olive.
The head’s plumage is pale grey, which turns paler around the eyes. Its crown depicts a fantastic, slightly shaggy crest of about 7 cm in length. Its short, strong, and decurved bill is black in color. Its eyes are dark brown, while its legs and feet are black.
Both male and female Grey Louries look the same. They measure between 47-51 cm in length and weigh between 200-305 grams.
The distribution and habitat of Grey Louries
Grey Louries are endemic to the southern part of Africa, particularly in Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. These birds frequent mainly areas with acacia trees, thorny savannahs, miombo woodlands, and woodland savannahs. Grey Louries can also be seen in suburban areas such as local gardens and parks. They are highly dependent on water, so they are most likely found in areas where there is flowing water. These birds are present from sea-level up to 1500 meters of elevation.
The behavior of a Grey Lourie
Grey Louries are highly social birds, forming groups and parties made up of 20 to 30 individuals to forage in treetops or dust bathe on the ground. When disturbed, they expose themselves by their distinct “kweh” or “go-away” call.
The breeding season highly depends on the locality. In Zimbabwe and South Africa, Grey Louries breed all year round. During the breeding season, they are noisier, as they emit more callings. They can be sighted chasing each other from tree to tree and engaging in mutual feeding. Courtship displays are showcased with a chattering bill, a moving crest, a bowing head, and a flicking tail.
Their flight is described as slow and labored, but Grey Louries can cover long distances despite these traits. In treetops, they display their agility by running along tree limbs and jumping from branch to branch.
Grey Louries assemble their nests in acacia or thorny trees, although sometimes they use old nests of other bird species. A nest is usually a loose platform made up of twigs, sticks, and other plant materials. It measures 20 to 24 cm in diameter and is situated 3 to 20 meters above the ground. Both male and female Grey Louries are responsible in building the nest.
The female Grey Lourie will lay 1 to 4 eggs, which will be incubated by both adults for 26 to 28 days.
The diet of a Grey Lourie
This bird species primarily feeds on fruits of several plant species, flowers, leaves, buds, termites, and snails. They also feed the pods of acacia. They prefer fruits from the plants in the genera Ficus, Loranthus, Viscum, Diospyros, Lannea, and Salvadora.
BOTSWANA BIRDS | SOUTH AFRICA BIRDS
NAMIBIA BIRDS | ZAMBIA BIRDS | ZIMBABWE BIRDS