Red Color on Touraco.

Harper's new monthly magazine 258, 1871

Much interest was excited some time ago by the announcement of the occurence of a peculiar red coloring matter, containing copper, and soluble in water, on the wings of the tourago (Musophaga), a large species of African bird well known to naturalists. M. Jules Verraux, the ornithologist, has lately given an account of these birds observed by him in their native localities, in the course of which he remaks that his attention was first attracted to the soluble nature of the touraco red in endeavoring to catch a wounded bird during a rain. To his surprise, on grasping it, there was left on the palm of his hand a peculiar matter of a blood-red color, which, however, disappeared on washing. He then found that the red of the wing, under such circumstances, was washed out, and the feathers became almost white; but that as soon as the bird became perfectly dry the red color immediately re-appeared. This experiment was repeated, on the same bird, several times a day indefinitely, and always with the same result. M. Verreaux also remakrs that he has observed a similar fact in regard to a species of Old-World trogon, although it is not known whether the American representatives of the group have the same pecualiarity.

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