The Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco (Tauraco ruspolii) is one of the 17 endemic bird species from a restricted area in Southern Ethiopia. Probably one of the most charismatic birds of Africa, this relatively unstudied species was thought to be on the brink of extinction due to lack of information on its population status and distribution. Although detailed surveys in 1995 found the species to be relatively widespread within its restricted range, more recent fieldwork in 2001 raised concerns about the presence of hybrids between the Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco and the more common White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) that were threatening the genetic integrity of the species, especially in areas like Kibre Mengist where the range of the two species overlapped.
Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco

In order to reassess the conservation status of this highly endangered and charismatic species, and to assess the risk of degradation of the genetic pool of the species through introgression of genes of another species, an in-situ research project was initiated by AWWP in 2003 in collaboration with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organisation (EWCO) in Ethiopia. The project was exclusively funded and coordinated by AWWP through the employment of independent Italian field researcher, Luca Borghesio.

The project, in spite of an abrupt end due to political interventions, culminated in more than 5 major publications on the status of the Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, its habitat as well as on other endemic bird species in the region. Moreover, the reassessment confirmed the presence of hybrids, identified hitherto unknown threats to the survival of the species, and formulated recommendations to Birdlife International to elevate the conservation status of the species based on the findings of this study. In addition to detailed data on the Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, the project was also able to produce data for publication on the threats to the survival of the endemic Ethiopian Bush Crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni).

 Kibre Mengist Forest Ethiopia.



2. The present conservation status of Juniperous forests in the South Ethiopian Endemic Bird Area.  (187 KB)

3. Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, Qatar: Working with Turacos Musophagidae spp.  (3.7 MB BIG FILE!)

4. Habitat degradation threatens the survival of the Ethiopian Bush Crow Zavattariornis stresemanni.  (177 KB)

5. Publication for AWWP_Website (783 KB)

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