These are unmistakable birds, but shy and often inconspicuous in the treetops. They are approximately 48 cm (19 in) long, including a long tail and a 4 cm (1.6 in) bill. They boast a winglength of 21 cm (8.3 in) and weigh approximately 360 g. The plumage is glossy violet, except for the yellow forehead, chestnut crown and white ear coverts; the bill is thick and red. In flight, the violet turaco's crimson primary flight feathers contrast with the violet plumage. The red colour in the wings is typical of turacos.