Exotic white-cheeked turaco spotted a long way from home in Waterlooville garden

AN UNUSUAL visitor made its way to a Waterlooville garden - despite being native to countries thousands of miles away.

By Belinda Dickins and Jamie Ngo
Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 11:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 12:54 pm
Malcolm Statt spotted this white-cheeked turaco in his Waterlooville garden

Malcolm Statt, from Waterlooville, sighted a white-cheeked turaco on Sunday night as he spent time outdoors.

He said: ‘It was incredible. We were just in the garden talking and all of a sudden this bird flew in and sat on the fence panel.’

Despite thinking it was a woodpecker at first, it soon became clear the bird was exotic. 

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Malcolm and his family were surprised to see this visitor land on their fence

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Found in the wild in Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, the forest-dwelling white-cheeked turaco was a long way from home.

Malcolm said it seemed very tame, and didn’t fly off as he walked closer to take photos.

The birds are part of the Musophagidae family which means ‘banana eaters’, living on fruit, small insects and vegetable matter, as well as plants.

The white-cheeked turaco tucked in to some loganberries

After a quick snack of three or four loganberries, the unexpected guest headed off to its next destination.

Malcolm said: ‘He was absolutely beautiful. When he flew off, the underside of his wings was a lovely golden red.’

To learn more about their new feathered friend, Malcolm’s daughter soon found it after searching ‘red beak, green bird’ on Google.

Malcolm and his wife have since spotted the turaco perched on their fence again today (Tuesday).

White-cheeked turaco enjoying some loganberries

In Africa, they are considered a pest since they are so abundant, living in flocks of 12.

Only one has previously been spotted living wild in the UK, but a few can be found in zoos including Marwell Zoo.