The strange skull of the violet turaco (genus: Macrophaga violate)

Figure 1. The violet turaco (genus: Musophaga) with its skull and a related skeleton.

Figure 1. The violet turaco (genus: Musophaga) with its skull and a related skeleton. Note the expanded nasals rimmed by prefrontals. The spectacular color and jungle habitat are clues that turacos are in the same family as birds of paradise.

Musophaga violacea (Isert 1788; 48 cm long) is the extant violet turaco, originally considered a near-passerine. Here it nests with the trumpeter (genus: Psophia, Fig. 2). In Musophaga the legs and sternum are shorter. The pelvis is deeper and the tail is more robust.

Figure 3. Psophia the trumpeter in vivo and skeleton.

Figure 2. Psophia the trumpeter in vivo and skeleton.

References
Isert 1788. Kurze Beschreibung und Abbildung einiger Vögel aus Guinea. – Schriften der Berlinischen Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde 9: 16-20

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