Plantain-eater at Parrot Mountain

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. He waters the hills from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works. (Psalms 104:12-13 NKJV)

The western plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator), also known as the grey plantain-eater or western grey plantain-eater, is a large member of the Turaco family, a group of large arboreal near-passerine birds restricted to Africa.

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

This species is a resident breeder in open woodland habitats in tropical west Africa. It lays two or three eggs in a tree platform nest.

These are common, noisy and conspicuous birds, despite lacking the brilliant colours of relatives such as the violet turaco. They are 50 cm long, including a long tail. Their plumage is mainly grey above spotted with brown. The head, erectile crest, neck and breast are brown streaked with silver. The underparts are whitish, heavily streaked with brown.

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

Western plantain-eater has a thick bright yellow bill, and shows a white wing bar in flight. The sexes are identical, but immatures have a black woolly head without silver streaking.

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) at Parrot Mountain

This bird is similar to the closely related eastern plantain-eater. The latter species has white tail bars, and lacks the chest bars and dark wing feather shafts of its western relative. This species feeds on fruit, especially figs, seeds and other vegetable matter.

We first encountered this amazing bird created by the Creator at the Houston Zoo this past spring. Those were in an enclosure with the normal fences to try to photograph through. That is what made this visit to Parrot Mountain so special because we were in a free-flying aviary with them.

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo by Lee

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Western plantain-eater has a loud cow-cow-cow call, very familiar in west Africa. (Info from Wikipedia)

Here is a video I took of the birds in the aviary feeding. The Plantain-eater comes in at tries to intimidate the Cardinal and then starts his call. If you watch him/her, you will notice it seems to be afraid of that cardboard dish holding the fruit. Hence my chuckle. I’ll tell you more about those other birds later.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17-18 NKJV)

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One thought on “Plantain-eater at Parrot Mountain

  1. Pingback: Plantain-eater at Parrot Mountain | Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus - Bird Watching Magazine

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