Nashville Zoo avian department welcomed their 15th great blue turaco chick on April 9. Over the last eight years the Nashville Zoo avian department and veterinary staff have worked tirelessly to try and develop a successful hand-rearing and medical care plan for this species.
Due to the low survivability rate of chicks, few zoos have been able to breed and raise these beautiful birds.
Over the past five years, the Zoo has been able to increase its breeding success rate dramatically, from 35% to 79%, establishing Nashville Zoo as one of the most successful institutions breeding great blue turacos. Today, turacos born and raised at the Zoo are living at nine other AZA-accredited zoos in the United States. Nashville Zoo consults with institutions across America, Europe and Singapore to improve their hand-rearing protocols and increase their breeding success.
Great blue turacos are native to rainforest habitats in west and central Africa and are classified as a species of “Least Concern” by the IUCN. By studying a species of least concern, the Zoo is not only able to develop proactive programs for great blue turacos, but also apply our research to more at-risk turaco species with similar diets and habitats.
Turaco chick (2 weeks old) with mom
Chick at 6 weeks old