Grey go-away-bird

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Grey go-away bird
Grey Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor) (32339139354), crop.jpg
C. c. bechuanae in South Africa, with calls recorded at a night roost
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Musophagiformes
Family: Musophagidae
Genus: Corythaixoides
C. concolor
Binomial name
Corythaixoides concolor
(Smith, 1833)

The grey go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor), also known as grey lourie, grey loerie, or kwêvoël, is a bold and common bird of the southern Afrotropics. They are present in arid to moist, open woodlands and thorn savanna, especially near surface water.[2] They regularly form groups and parties that forage in tree tops, or dust bathe on the ground. Especially when disturbed, they make their presence known by their characteristically loud and nasal "kweh" or "go-way" calls,[3] with the last syllable typically a descending drawl.[4] Within their range, their unique combination of colour, appearance and habits precludes confusion with other bird species.


Close-up views of the pink gape and tongue, and the wispy crest

Though their flight is rather slow and laboured,[4] they can cover long distances.[5] Once in the open tree tops however, they can display the agility which is associated with the Musophagidae, as they run along tree limbs and jump from branch to branch.[4] They can form groups and parties numbering even 20 to 30 that move about in search of fruit and insects near the tree tops.


The sexes are similar. They measure 47–51 cm from bill tip to tail tip,[5] and weigh some 200 to 300 g.[6] They have an almost uniform smoky-grey plumage with long tails and (similar to mousebirds) a wispy, back-swept crest of some 6 to 7 cm in length.[5] The crest can be raised almost vertically[3] when excited. The strong, decurved beak is black and the gape and tongue strikingly pink. The plumage is darkest grey on the chin and throat, and palest around the eyes and on the belly.[6] The breast plumage is washed slightly olive like that of its near relative, the bare-faced go-away-bird.[5]


Its diet is mainly fruit (such as wild figs and berries), flowers, buds, leaves, termites, and snails. Fruit are obtained from plants in the genera Ficus, Viscum, Loranthus, Diospyros, Lannea, Ziziphus, Salvadora[6] and Flueggea, among others. They also feed on fruit of exotic invasives like seringa, and disperse their seeds.[2]

Range and habitat[edit]

It is native to southern Angola, southern DRC, Zambia, southern Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Eswatini. It occupies any arid to moist, and relatively open savanna woodlands, especially where Acacia trees are present. They frequent the edges of miombo woodland, and occur commonly along water courses, dry riparian forest and in Acacia woodland on alluvium.[7] It also occurs commonly on farms and in suburban gardens and parks. They require water, and disperse along tributaries of desert rivers when water flows.[2] It is absent from areas that lack suitable fruiting trees, and seems to desert areas where bush encroachment occurs.[2] They have no regular migrations, but wander about irregularly in search of food and water.[2]


The flimsy nest platform is built from fairly thin, and often thorny sticks.[4] It has the appearance of a substantial dove's nest, and their almost round, white eggs can be seen from below.[4] Usually three eggs are laid in a nest that is placed at the center of an isolated tree.[8] The adults share all parental duties, and the chicks start clambering about before they are able to fly. The chicks are covered in dense brownish down, and are fed regurgitated food by the parents.[5] The breeding season is July to August in Angola, April to November in Malawi, August to September in Zambia, Sept and December to April in Namibia,[6] and all months in Zimbabwe and South Africa.[2]


The western race, C. c. pallidiceps, at Okonjima, Namibia
The eastern race, C. c. concolor, in South Africa

Four races are generally accepted, though more have been described:[9]

  • C. c. molybdophanes (Clancey, 1964) – ne Angola to s Tanzania and n Mozambique
Description: Greyer chest plumage than bechuanae[7]
  • C. c. pallidiceps (Neumann, 1899) – w Angola, Namibia and w Botswana
  • C. c. bechuanae (Roberts, 1932) – s Angola, ne Namibia, Botswana, s Zambia, c Zimbabwe and n South Africa
Description: Olive wash on chest plumage[7]
  • C. c. concolor (A. Smith, 1833) – s Malawi, w Mozambique to Eswatini and e South Africa
Description: Only faint olive wash on chest plumage, paler grey below than bechuanae[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International. (2016). "Corythaixoides concolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22688396A93196103. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22688396A93196103.en. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Johnson, D. N. "SABAP1: Grey Lourie" (PDF). SABAP. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b Gill, E. Leonard; Winterbottom, J.M. (revised) (1975). A first guide to South African birds (7th ed.). Cape Town: Maskew Miller. p. 114. ISBN 0623005964.
  4. ^ a b c d e Ginn, Peter (1981). Birds of the highveld (3rd impr. ed.). Salisbury: Longman. p. 81. ISBN 0582608902.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Grey Go-Away Bird". Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Turner, D.A. (2016). "Grey Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Irwin, M. P. S. (1981). The Birds of Zimbabwe. Salisbury: Quest Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 086-9251-554.
  8. ^ Tarboton, Warwick (2001). A Guide to the Nests and Eggs of Southern African Birds. Cape Town: Struik. p. 101. ISBN 1-86872-616-9.
  9. ^ "Grey Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor) - HBW 4, p. 505". The Internet Bird Collection. Retrieved 2 May 2016.

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