Friday, March 29, 2019

Training RACING PIGEONS To Become Better, Faster

Carrier Pigeon
Carrier Pigeon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the first-time owner of racing pigeons, breeding and racing these pigeons can be a tough challenge. There are some certain pigeon needs that should be considered, and its breeding and training are like Science. There is no room for lots of errors and untested training and breeding actions. That is because for it to become a successful breeding and racing program of racing pigeons, you need tested set of suggestions and verified rules coming from the ground.  And it all starts with breeding up until racing. 

If you are starting with newly-hatched pigeons, you are expected to note about the commonalities between these young pigeons.  Remember that these pigeons can be weaned at equal ages. These birds can be vaccinated at the same age and these birds can be ranged and routed as well at the same age. These birds at their tender age are often grouped together in a specialized housing called the loft, and this will serve as their home up until their racing days.

What to expect in the first 28 days

Once these young birds have stayed for around 28 days on their nest, they are supposed to be transferred to a much larger loft. The first few days in their loft are often spent learning where they can source their food and how to eat. This is also the right time for these birds to be allowed outside and to wander so that they will be familiar with their surroundings. Expect these birds to start flying at 6 weeks, and they will start in small circles. The moment these birds start to gain confidence, these birds will fly for hours before returning to their lofts. Now, remember that this is the perfect time for training the birds. They are best trained and guided if the birds have been ranged or routed for at least two (2) weeks. The maximum time that the birds will be out is for 2 hours, and this is a great sight as you watch batches of pigeons pass you by. But the best thing about this activity is that these pigeons get the exercise that they need and they become more accustomed to their lofts.

Training tosses tips

There are some factors too that needs to be practiced when doing the first few training tosses.

• The racing pigeons should be in perfect health during training.

• Consider as well the number of days spent in routing and ranging

• If you can, you also need to consider the quality of pigeons migrating

• The best time to train these pigeons is during a clear day. This means that you need to avoid rain, fog, and strong winds. And speaking of time;

• Did you know that there is a perfect time to do the practice? According to some racing enthusiasts, the perfect time is early morning or before 9:00 in the morning/

More than these, there are certain techniques and strategies that are employed in relation to breeding and training of racing pigeons. And these are varied depending on who you ask. Of the many techniques and strategies, some of those that stand out include the use of widowhood and the adoption of proper conditioning.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Collared ARACARI - Pteroglossus torquatus

Collared Aracari - Pteroglossus torquatus

Friday, January 11, 2019


Original Title: Rainforest Birds - Beryl-Spangled Tanager

Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis) ...
Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis) from Ecuador (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bird Name:
Beryl-spangled Tanager

Latin Name:
Tangara nigroviridis

Least Concern

Scientific Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Tangara
Species: nigroviridis

General Information:

The Beryl-spangled Tanager is a colorful, tropical bird that inhabits the tropical regions of the north to northeastern South America. Tanagers can often be found in mixed-species flocks. This genus of tanagers is considered canopy dwellers, and will most often be found in the tree canopy. T. nigroviridis has three subspecies.

Physical Description:
Beryl-spangled Tanagers can grow to about 11 inches in length and weigh up to about 40 g. It is mainly black with bright green to bluish green speckles, sometimes appearing like scales, which cover much of its body including the breast and wings.

Tanagers' diet typically consists of fruit. They have also been known to pick insects from leaves and the underside of branches. They forage most often between 2 and 9 m above the ground.

This species of tanager inhabits the Andean moist montane cloud forests. They reside in elevations between 900 and 3000 m, although they are most numerous between 1500 and 2400 m. Their range stretches across Venezuela, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, and Brazil.

The Beryl-spangled Tanager builds cup nests constructed of mosses, usually in a tree fork. Eggs will appear in March. The female averages a clutch size of two eggs. The eggs are creamy white and speckled with brown and lilac. The eggs are incubated for a period of 13 to15 days. Both the male and the female will feed the nestlings insects and fruit. The young chicks will fledge the nest 14 to 20 days after hatching.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BIRD FLU: A Chicken Raiser’s Nightmare

English: Avian Influenza ( Bird Flu ) Sign Avi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since its outbreak, every poultry owner had become aware of the consequences that can happen if this deadly disease is not prevented. Bird flu or what is also known as avian (meaning bird) influenza (flu), is the number one killer of poultry chickens in Asia and some parts of the world. 

Bird flu started in China and became a widespread disease for their chickens thus wiping out over millions of poultry businesses and dropping the chicken industry to a devastating point. The thing about avian flu is that, not only can it affect birds but also humans which makes the illness more dangerous to various lives. It can be passed from chicken to chicken, chicken to person, person to person, person to chicken, and so on. That is why authorities in the health sectors are taking this serious matter in their hands and are making strict surveillance. 

Avian influenza is not just a disease underlying a typical cold. It is more than that. In fact, it can kill an entire poultry habitation within a week. If passed onto a person, it can be more lethal as a person can interact with hundreds of people in a day without even noticing that they have become the perfect carrier of the disease. Worse, this sickness is not a picky disease. It could affect everyone including children. 

The incubation period, if passed to a human, is not exact but as record shows, it may take about three to five days from the exposure to the disease-causing virus. Till then, the person will experience signs and symptoms that are similar with the common cold like fever, cough, sore throat, and aching of the muscles. Sometimes, the only thing that could indicate if the person has bird flu is if they are having conjunctivitis. 

If the person who was affected and has experienced the signs and symptoms stated above ignored the indications, it may lead to the severity of the disease. The person now will start to experience viral pneumonia and eventually, acute respiratory distress which is the most common cause of deaths among bird-related diseases. 

But this pandemic crisis can be pretty much prevented if certain precautions are practiced if everyone who is involved will cooperate with the measures that were given out by the authorities. 

Through thorough surveillance, WHO (World Health Organization) supports in eliminating the disease. Through this, they can trace the source of infection and track down those who were affected by the flu. They will confirm instances of the disease and how many deaths were known. Once WHO officials find out the extent of the disease’s proximity, they will contain the area under quarantine.

Those who are in the zone will not be allowed to go beyond it and those who wanted to enter will be prohibited. That is why the concerned officials must be responsible enough to bring in reliable data otherwise there would be miscalculations that can result in more chickens and people being affected instead of being saved. 

With the word spread out all across the globe, the government is also having strict participation for the observance if there are any occurrences of the virus in their community. Residents are the one who has to be more watchful because they will be the one more affected.

Their communication and participation is the most important tool to evaluate the presence of this disease and make raising chickens safer for both chickens and owners.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Endangered Species - DARWIN FINCH

English: A mangrove finch, the rarest of Darwi...
A mangrove finch, the rarest of Darwin's finches.
 (Photo credit: 
Have you ever wondered about how man became the dominant species in the world? We're not the biggest, the fastest, the strongest or the hardest working creature on the planet. What separates us from other creatures is both our intelligence and our ability to use tools. Man's use of tools dates back to prehistoric ages when we used stones and clubs throughout history. Over the years we have developed new tools making our lives easier and making it possible to dominate our environment.

For many years it was thought that man was the only creature that used tools, through research, it was observed that other animals also use tools. Sticks and stones have been observed being used for various purposes. Other than humans, primates are known to make the widest use of tools and the Woodpecker Finch that collects up to 50% of their diet by using a tool to collect their food. These finches are second only to man, in their reliance of tools in order to obtain food. The Woodpecker Finch uses sticks, twigs and cactus spines to make up for its short tongue and gather insects from plants and trees.

The Woodpecker Finch is just one of 14 species known as Darwin Finch named after Charles Darwin. Darwin collected these finches during his visit to the Galapagos. Brownish Grey in color these noisy birds were unimpressive at first - Darwin thought them to be blackbirds or grosbeaks. Upon returning to England, Darwin presented the birds along with other animals he collected during his voyage to the Geological Society of London it was there that an ornithologist, discovered that Darwin had discovered an entirely new group of birds and 12 different species. It was this discovery, which directly led to his theory of evolution and the transmutation of species.

"Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends"

Since the days of Darwin, this group of birds continues to intrigue scientists. The term "Darwin Finch" was coined in the 1900's and made popular by David Lack who spent 3 months in the Galapagos studying the birds and wrote a book about his studies. Yet the real experts on the Darwin Finch are Peter and Rosemary Grant who spent 30 years studying the birds and wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Beak of the Finch. Winners of the prestigious Balzan prize for popular biology their citation reads...

"Peter and Rosemary Grant are distinguished for their remarkable long-term studies demonstrating evolution in action in Galapagos finches. They have demonstrated how very rapid changes in body and beak size in response to changes in the food supply are driven by natural selection. They have also elucidated the mechanisms by which new species arise and how genetic diversity is maintained in natural populations. The work of the Grants has had a seminal influence in the fields of population biology, evolution and ecology."

Through these studies, we have come to learn there are 14 species of Darwin Finch 13 in the Galapagos Islands plus one living at Cocos Island. These birds are members of the tanager family rather than a true finch. Each species is approximately the same size 10 - 20 cm making them difficult to tell apart. The primary difference between the finches is their beak size and shape which mutated to adapt to their diet ranging from seeds, insects, flowers, leaves and the blood of sea birds. For example, finches which eat insects will have a thin extended beak to poke into holes in the ground and extract the grubs. Finches that eat flowers and seeds have a claw like beaks can grind down their food and thus give them a selective advantage in circumstances in parts of the islands where seeds are the only real food available.

Typically the Darwin Finch are divided into (4) groups representing each genus: ground finches (Geospiza) are made up of 4 species seeding eating ground finches each with a crushing bill plus one cactus dwelling finch with a probing bill. There is the insect eating warbler finch (Certhidea) with its probing bill and the Cocos Finch (Pinaroloxias). As well as the more diversified group of tree finches (amarhynchus) consisting of the fruit eating vegetarian tree finch with its parrot like a bill, the small and large tree finch both dine on insects and have a grasping bill. The Woodpecker finch we discussed earlier with its probing bill. Found only on the Island of Cocos along the coast of Costa Rica, the Cocos finch which eats both fruits and insects and is the most plentiful bird on the island this is in direct contrast to the Mangrove Finch which can be found in two mangrove areas on the western coast of Isabela and is critically endangered.

Though these remarkable birds have adapted to life in the Galapagos Islands for thousands of years, it is the introduction of new species by a man that has devastated the Mangrove Finch. The mangrove finch closely resembles the Woodpecker Finch only these birds do not use tools. Historically the Mangrove Finch could be found in the mangrove areas on the east of Ferndandina and on the west, south and north of Isabela. However, recent surveys have determined the bird is now extinct on Fernandina and there is thought to be approximately 70 remaining on Isabela.

The plight of the Mangrove Finch is due to a blood sucking parasite known as the Philornis downsi. Accidently introduced to the Galapagos thought by imported fruits, the larvae of the fly emerge at night to feed both internally and externally on the blood and flesh of developing nestlings. The presence of this parasite is causing significant (16 - 95%) mortality rate in Darwin Finch and devastating both the Medium Tree Finch and Mangrove Finch both of which are now considered critically endangered.

The national park has made great strides in the conservation and preservation of endemic species from their tortoise rearing and breeding program for giant tortoises, the restoration of land iguanas to the eradication of goats and other introduced species on many of the islands.

However, P. downsi creates a whole new issue. When eradicating goats on Isabela, Pinta and Santiago the national park used radio collars to track the goats leading them to other goats in the heard. Yet using a radio collars to track flies is an impossibility. Whereas goats produce on average 2 - 3 kids after a 150 day gestational period. The P. downsi produces hundreds of off springs in a matter of days - the ramifications of which are staggering.

Since its introduction, the parasite has spread to 12 of the 13 islands and can be found in 64-100% of the nests. The Darwin Station is searching for a solution to this problem that affects all of the Darwin Finch as well as the other land birds in Galapagos.

In order to protect the Mangrove Finch from extinction, the national park has been working on a captive breeding program both for the finch as well as for the P. downsi. Their hopes are to breed the finch in a safe environment. While in studying the P. downsi it is in hopes to create a sterile version of the parasite which can be introduced into the population to eradicate it. Additionally, the park is working to eradicate of rats (another predator) in the habitat of the Mangrove Finch. They have established a monitoring program and through these resources and education, the park and scientists are hopeful they can save the Mangrove Finch from extinction and continue to preserve the endemic species of the Galapagos Islands.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fact Sheet: TURQUOISE TANAGER - Tangara mexicana

(Original Title: Rainforest Birds - Turquoise Tanager)

Turquoise Tanager - Jurong Bird Park, Singapore
Turquoise Tanager - Jurong Bird Park, Singapore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bird Name:
Turquoise Tanager

Latin Name:
Tangara Mexicana

Least Concern

Scientific Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Tangara
Species: T. Mexicana

General Information:
The Turquoise Tanager is a medium-sized passerine bird that occurs in northern and northeastern South America. It is a resident of the Amazon Basin as well as adjacent rivers. It is a social bird and is often found in small flocks.

Physical Description:
The adult birds are around 5.5 inches long and weigh approximately 20 grams. They have long tails and dark stout bills. When fully grown, these tanagers are dark blue in color with yellow underparts. The Trinidadian form, T. m. vieiloti has a darker blue hue and brighter yellow belly than their mainland counterparts. The east Brazilian subspecies, T. m. brasiliensis is pale, silvery-blue with dark spots on its throat and chest and white on its belly.

The Turquoise Tanager feeds primarily on fruit but will also eat insects, flowers, leaves, and seeds.

Its range stretches within the Amazon Basin to Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil, Bolivia. It is also common on the island of Trinidad, where it is a resident breeder. It inhabits forests, semi-open areas, and cultivated lands. This bird typically builds a bulky cup nest in a tree or shrub. In eastern Brazil, there is a disjunct population living from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro.

The female Turquoise Tanager lays 2 to 3 brown-blotched, gray-green eggs per clutch. The female incubates the eggs for about 12 - 14 days. Pairs break off from the flock to reproduce. After hatching, pairs rejoin the flock but return to feed the young.

    By Tony Mandarich
    Author Tony Mandarich has written many articles about one of his passions, rainforest birds. Article Source: EzineArticles

Monday, January 7, 2019

Fact Sheet: EASTERN ROSELLA - Platycercus eximius

(Original Article: Rainforest Birds - Eastern Rosella)

Colorful bird
Photo  by Tambako the Jaguar 

Bird Name:
Eastern Rosella

Latin Name:
Platycercus eximius

Least concern

Scientific Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Genus: Platycercus
Species: P. eximius

General Information:
The many common names of the Eastern Rosella include Rosella, Rosella Parrot or Parakeet, Red Rosella, Common Rosella, White-cheeked Rosella and Red-headed Rosella. The Eastern Rosella has three subspecies P.e. eximius (Eastern Rosella), P.e. cecilae (Gold-mantled Rosella), and P.e. diemenensis (Tasmania Rosella). These birds are common in the pet trade because of their bright colors and their softer call. There has been much debate about the classification of Rosellas.

Physical Description:
Eastern Rosellas are about 30 cm in length and weigh 90 to 120 gm. The head, throat, and upper breast are bright red and they exhibit white cheek patches. The lower breast is yellow and green. Wings are mixed in color of black, blue, and green. The green extends down to the blue tail. Bill and feet are gray. Sexes are similar with the female smaller in size and paler in color and exhibiting more of green shading. The female generally has an underwing stripe.

The Rosellas feed on grass and shrub seeds, fruits, berries, blossoms, nuts, nectar, and insects. They have been known to cause a great deal of damage to crops and orchards.

Rosellas are distributed throughout southeastern Australia. They inhabit lightly timbered woodlands in humid and semi-humid regions from the seaboard to the fringes of the inland plains. Each subspecies has its own range. The Eastern Rosella subspecies occurs within Victoria and southern New South Wales. The Gold-mantled Rosella occurs in northern New South Wales. The Tasmania Rosella is found in eastern Tasmania.

Breeding season for the Eastern Rosellas occurs between August and February. Nest are built primarily in fallen logs or stumps. The clutch size is 4 to 9 eggs. Incubation takes approximately 19 days and the female does this solely. She will leave the nest 2 to 3 times a day to feed or be fed by the male. Females feeds the chicks exclusively for the first 10 days, after which the male may enter the nest and both parents will feed the young.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Hey Parrots Train Your Parents To Start Training You

Photo: Pixabay
Happy parrots enjoy training every day. Parrot potty training is one of the easiest things that we can learn.

If you want to be a happy bird like me you have to train your parents to spend time and invest in training you.  Let's face it we don’t like to be stuck in a cage or on our stands all day screaming our heads off.  We are going to live a long time so we might as well be happy.   Read on to learn how I was parrot potty trained.

If you’re not a happy bird like a lot of us are or were at one time, tell your parents to just start spending time with you.  One of my favorite things to do is to sing with my parents.  They’re not that talented so I enjoy training them how to sing.

For you parrots out there who like to come out once and while but you get put right back because of you poop on the floor or the furniture, tell your parents to start parrot potty training you.  It’s very easy to learn.  Here is how my Papa taught me.  He waits for me to poop in my cage while saying to me "sit" because sit sounds nicer than go poop.  Then when I do he takes me out and plays and cuddles with me for a short time.  Then he puts me back in my cage and tells me to "sit again" and when I do (so to speak) he takes me out and plays and cuddles with me again.  After a short time the only place that I want to "sit" is in my cage or on my play stand.  Tell your parents potty training parrots is much easier than potty training dogs, cats or even children.

Fact Sheet: BANK MYNA - Acridotheres ginginianus

(Original Title: Rainforest Birds - Bank Myna)

English: Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus at...
Bank Myna( Acridotheres ginginianus )
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bird Name:
Bank Myna

Latin Name:
Acridotheres ginginianus


Least Concern

Scientific Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Genus: Acridotheres
Species: A. ginginianus

General Information:
The Bank Myna is an endemic species of South Asia, where it is known locally by a diverse collection of names, including the Ganga Myna, the Bardi Myna, and the Daryl Myna. This bird is similar in its coloration to the Common Myna, with which it also shares its range, but is smaller. It is a gregarious bird and is often seen in flocks during the breeding season.

Physical Description:
On average it is 8 - 8.5 inches in length. It is a stocky bird, blue-grayish in plumage with darker colored wings. It has a black head with an orange bill and orange eye patches. The sexes are similar in appearance, but the juvenile is paler and browner in color.

It feeds on fruits, grains, and insects. Because it feeds on sorghum, it can be destructive to crops. At the same time, the Bank Myna also eats pest insects, making it beneficial to crops as well.

It is often found in riverbank habitats
as well as in open country and near human habitation. Its range covers portions of Pakistan, northern Indian and east to Bangladesh. Individuals have also been spotted as far as Afghanistan. It utilizes a variety of spaces for nesting, including tunnels in riverbanks, earthen wells and sides of disused brick kilns.

The nesting season for the bird occurs from May to August, principally from April to June. The female generally lays 3 - 5 glossy pale-blue eggs per clutch.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Rivalry and Aggression in BUDGIES

Photo: Pixabay
Budgies usually get along with each other and rarely fight. But there are times when they need to warn other budgies off, like when they claim ownership of a nesting site, or when there's a courtship rivalry.

The way budgies warn each other off is usually through body language and threatening behavior. The budgie will try to make itself appear big by standing up straight and extending all its joints. Then the budgie will sound a warning call and maybe hack towards the offending budgie.

Almost every time the offending budgie will move away and everything will end peacefully. Sometimes though, the offending budgie will stand up straight and try to threaten the other budgie back.

Now, as far as I know, there hasn't been a single recorded case of budgies fighting in the wild. And I can't blame them. They have to work hard enough to survive in the desert like conditions without fighting with each other.

There are a fair number of recorded cases of budgies fighting each other in captivity though. It's probably a result of having to live so close together all the time. If two budgies see each other as threatening their survival for whatever reason, and they're stuck in a cage or aviary together, then fighting is probably inevitable.

Two budgies that have bonded and accepted each other won't fight. They'll be happy living together and respect the other's need for space. And male budgies will almost never fight females.

Female budgies are usually more aggressive than males. Conflicts will often happen when there are more female than male budgies in a group. The females tend to see each other as rivals, even if the male budgie is already bonded with one of them. So, make sure that you either have equal numbers of male and female budgies or more males.

The other time that fights are more likely to happen between pet budgies is when they want to mate. You can avoid aggressive competition over nesting sites by making sure that there is plenty of choice of nesting boxes. And by making sure that the nesting boxes are spaced out at least three feet apart. If the nesting boxes are too close together both pairs of budgies will feel threatened by the other pair.

Budgies aren't really equipped that well for fighting. They don't fight their predators in the wild, they just run away. So, when budgies do decide to fight all they've got as a weapon is their beak. And it's not a particularly sharp beak compared to a lot of other birds.

When they decide to fight, one budgie will approach the other and try to bite at its feet and pull its feathers. The other budgie will try to use its beak to block the attacker. The fight usually lasts until one of the budgies decides to run away. It's very rare indeed that one budgie will continue attacking after its opponent has decided to flee.

If that happens all you can really do is try to separate them before there is any serious injury.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

SENEGAL PARROTS: Five Things They Love Doing and Some Other Behavioural Traits

English: Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus...
Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) at Philadelphia Zoo. Photograph shows the front upper body. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is a pleasure for me to write in detail about five things which our Senegal parrot loves to do after many years of close observation of his antics. Some things, I hope, may still surprise other owners and I hope that I can, at the most, encourage people to own a Senegal and, at the least, add to the overall collective knowledge in praise of these little rays of Senegalese sunshine.

Firstly, if I may, a quick background note as to how we came to own our green and yellow feathery-beak of fun, aka Choi, for 15 years. He was the type of case wherein he was passed from owner to owner until my partner brought him home one day as the result of a rescue mission. No cruelty involved, fear not, but he had seen him (and we call him 'him' because to this day we still don't know what sex he is) at his friend's flat, whistling and walking upside down in his cage. He knew there and then that he would be the one to give him his final home as he had been passed 'from pillar to post' more often than any parrot should be and, fortunately, his friend gave his consent as he was really too busy to care for him properly. As it happened, I could not believe this was the same parrot I had seen in a cage hanging up in a fruit shop in the high street (in yet another previous ownership), whose legs were constantly shaking (now I realise with cold or fright, for they never shook once he was ours) and earned him the 'then' name of 'Shaky'. Little could I have imagined at the time that we would end up owning the very same little parrot. So, in short, our ownership of him was quite serendipitous.

Here are Choi's five fun things that he loves doing:

1. Getting Up Early On Sunny Mornings He instinctively knows it is a bright sunny morning despite being covered up in a dark room overnight. Just in the same way, he knows when it is a cold, dull morning and his enthusiasm to come out is as damp as the day. He absolutely loves sunny mornings, no doubt because he is from Senegal, so get out of bed, let him out fast and let him whistle, screech, fly around like a helicopter for all he is worth! He will dive-bomb you incessantly with his exuberance of greeting the bright day, so watch out, but it is all great fun and he will raise your spirits too. Garden birds at the window are at their liveliest in the morning too, so there is quite some 'party' going on what with all the noise from him and 'his' birds.

We decided early on that he was going to have a lot of freedom out of the cage during the day so we never have a problem with him flying around the room. Actually, we have found that he does not excrete all over the place as you might expect, but has his 'favourite' few perches where he lands with old newspaper placed on the floor at the ready, of course. It is worth giving him the freedom of the room to fly around and, actually, I would be concerned if someone owned a parrot that was confined to a cage all the time.

2. Chewing Cardboard He adores chewing through small boxes of cardboard - his favourite is an egg box. It must be that particular chewy consistency. We make a tent on top of his cage, like a sort of 'house extension', by putting his feeder pole in the middle to form a peak and then hanging his night blanket over it. He often walks in there like a Tyrannosaurus Rex (and those of you who have a Senegal will be familiar with that particular gait!) and lurks in the shadows, hiding behind residual bits of other cardboard. If you so much as tentatively touch a bit of cardboard box with the end of a pencil he will 'crash out' at you like a T Rex as well - yes, you know he can be very scary! One particular time, we noticed he was 'on a roll' with his cardboard chewing and kept bringing him in an ever-so-slightly bigger box to chew than the last time we came in, which he continually made an enthusiastic grab for.

They started to get beyond the bounds of what you would expect he could cope with chewing. It actually got to the point where we came in with quite a substantial size of a cardboard box and we knew when he eyed it up in readiness that this had gone too far! He was actually prepared and waiting to take this huge thing on board and start dismantling it! Suffice to say we diverted him with a monkey nut as you will appreciate when we discuss that much-loved item further down the list below. He also loves these heavy-duty whiskey bottle cardboard containers. If you dislodge the end bits it gives him the toughest chew ever and, even better, a tunnel to run through back and forth. It adds a particular challenge for him if you put your face at the other end of the tunnel and gives him extra impetus to 'charge'! This leads nicely onto his next fun thing to do...

3. Looking into Dark Tunnels I would never have believed how hypnotised he becomes with the sight of a dark tunnel. In this instance, I mean a certain 'shaping into a dark hole' of the neck or sleeve of a jumper you can achieve while it is innocuously lying on the back of a settee. If you open up the neck of an idle black sock into a shape of a tunnel or manage to shape a dark entrance to a hat when not in use, he will fly down and approach them with stealth, rattling into an entrance of said dark holes and tunnels and stand guard by them ferociously. We can't get near these items when this obsession has overtaken him! He has absolutely no fear of dark tunnels. There could be all sorts of beasts lurking inside for all he knows but it makes no difference. We have only discovered this peculiarly fun trait in him in the last couple of years and it is something we would never have dreamt would turn out to be so absorbing for him. Now we enjoy propping up hats, jumpers and socks in tunnel-shaped formats for his amusement (so long as it amuses us enough at the time too!)

4. Eating Monkey Nuts If we were to put three parrot-type tantalising foodstuffs in a row, let's say, a slice of tangerine, a monkey nut and any other kind of nut or fruit - there is no question that he would pick the monkey nut - the monkey nut wins hands down every time! It would not matter what the choices were, it is the monkey nut or nothing! I have tried to offer him all sorts of luxury nuts from Christmas packs but nothing else will do. He is very fond of cashews but, you guessed it, monkey nuts rule supreme.

5. Looking at Mirrors He has an extraordinary obsession with mirrors and he will roost beside his reflection contentedly for hours on end, after an introductory fight or flight session with his reflection of course. He has his own mirror noises. If we were blindfolded we would know by the noises that he makes that he had landed on a mirror in the room somewhere. Word of warning here though - don't let him land on a big vanity mirror on your wall for long or he will start chewing the frame. The same warning goes for pictures as he is attracted to the reflection of the glass within the frame, so beware. One of these fun activities that have to be supervised, I'm afraid.

It has to be mentioned at this point that if it had not been for his love of the last two items we would grievously not got him back down out of the trees when he flew up one branch too many one fateful days. It was actually Midsummer's Day - the shortest night of the year thankfully - when we took him down the country lane on a picnic with us. Stupidly, we were delusional about how well-behaved he would be with regard to staying close to his cage in our company. Of course, he was only used to the closeness of a room in the house and didn't know that he could really - really - stretch his wings out here. He had been sitting on top of his cage for a short while, not knowing any better than to do such, but when we leveraged a branch-type stick at him to climb on, it 'spooked' him a little as it was unfamiliar material and he flew up onto a nearby branch above us. Of course, he flew on up to another, then another until he positively revelled in the fact that we couldn't even see him through the thick greenery of the high-summer tree foliage.

It was the longest remainder of the day - a nightmare situation. There were endless periods of him ignoring our entreaties to come down when we did catch sight of him, then horror-filled moments of crows chasing him and I could not believe the number of birds of prey that were nesting about the trees at that time. We actually had to leave him overnight, believing him to have crossed over the river and never believing that he would cross back again. However, I heard him screech very early in the morning, after a blessedly short night, from far down in the field again and we hurried there with his cage. Suffice to say, after relentless flashing upon flashing with mirrors and long held-out monkey nuts he circled precariously downward towards us from the very tree I had last seen him in. God knows how he crossed back over the river to it and, seriously, God does know because I do consider it a miracle when I think about the horror of seeing some crows chasing him.

The point of this cautionary but thankfully uplifting tale is that, again, if it had not been for his love of mirrors and monkey nuts it would have been doubtful if he could have trusted his perspective to fly from the tree down to the cage again. Luckily he was extremely hungry. With one foot in the cage and the other holding onto the door, he had the cheek to act as if we were the Monkey Nut Men and he would just fly on upwards again after he had eaten his fill. A swift, smooth, firm, forward pressure manoeuvred him into the cage, however, and a similarly swift, smooth, firm closure of the cage door followed forthwith - as you can well imagine! He spent a full night and day asleep up on the curtain rail to recover. We remain humbled and chastened by the event to this day as to how we could have endangered him so by our stupidity. May I also add what an extremely brave little bird he proved to be by outflying his pursuers and surviving this episode, finding himself so suddenly out of his comfort zone? Such incredible courage. How on earth did he find his way back over that river? It made me believe in miracles.

Two final endearing factors... I don't know of a better 'Sir Jimmy Savile OBE' impersonation given by bird or mammal. You know the gorilla-thumping-chest type 'uh-ah-uh-ah-uh-ah' noise he used to make on 'Top of the Pops' (UK residents only perhaps!)? We still intend to shoot a video of it if we can ever get him to do it on cue.

Also, he never ever gives up trying to land on my partner's head or back, while flapping his wings furiously (very funny to watch!) when he sees a good 'strike' opportunity. It's taken in good spirit because actually, he is a one-man parrot and my partner is the only one who can stroke him behind the ears, under his chin and is generally the hand that feeds him and 'feathery' knows it. However, I love the way you can actually see him plotting and thinking, 'I'm going to get him today..yes, today...'
Suffice to say, I could never go back to a 'budgie' (budgerigar) after a Senegal parrot. We have no idea how old he is but we feel blessed to have him in our lives for however long we all shall live!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Fact Sheet: EMERALD TOUCANET - Aulacorhynchus prasinus

(Original Title: Rainforest Birds - Emerald Toucanet)

Emerald toucanet
Photo by brian.gratwicke 
Bird Name:
Emerald Toucanet

Latin Name:
Aulacorhynchus prasinus

Least Concern

Scientific Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Ramphastidae
Genus: Aulacorhynchus
Species: A. prasinus

General Information:

The Emerald Toucanet is the most widely distributed of all toucans, spanning from Mexico down as far south as Bolivia. Considered one of seven "mountain toucanets," this bird has fourteen subspecies existing throughout its range. It prefers to be in pairs or small flocks.

Physical Description:
When this bird reaches adult is usually 12 - 14 inches in length and weighs around 180 g. The male and female are similar in appearance, but the female is a little smaller with a slightly shorter bill. Both male and female are mostly green, like other members of its genus Aulachorhynchus. The Emerald Toucanet's bill is black with yellow on the upper mandible. There is also a small patch of white, blue, pale grey-blue, blue, or black on the throat, with the color depending on the subspecies.

It feeds primarily on fruits, but will also eat bird eggs, insects, lizards, and other small prey.

This toucan occurs in humid forests, lowlands, as well as mountainous landscapes ranging from portions of Mexico through Central America, to northern Venezuela and south along the Andes to central Bolivia. The Emerald Toucanet often nests in an unlined hole in a tree, usually an old woodpecker's nest or sometimes a natural cavity.

The female Emerald Toucanet lays three to four eggs per clutch, and both the male and the female incubate the eggs for a period of 14 to 15 days. The hatchlings are fed by both parents and fledge the nest after about 6 weeks.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


English: This is a young domesticated budgie. ...
This is a young domesticated budgie.
(Photo credit: 
Budgerigar parakeets are small, long-tailed and seed-eating parrots. They were from Australia for so many years ago although this has some doubts as the origin is not clear yet. This kind of species is found all over the world, and they are naturally green and yellow, although they have some black marks in some specific parts of their body.

Some of the unique features of the budgerigar parakeets are that they are small, they are sold at a cheaper price, they have the ability to mimic a human being and they have a different playing nature in contrast to the other types of parrots in the world.

1. Budgerigar parakeet's health
Although it is hard for a human being to tell when a bird is sick, there are some of the signs that will tell you when the parakeet is sick or not. They will have the following signs:

  • Difficulty in breathing;
  • Frequent dropping, which will come in abnormal color;
  • Different from the normal sleeping pattern;
  • Bleeding in some parts;
  • Relaxed and dropping parts like the head and the tail;
  • Drinking lots of water, more than normal;
  • Unusual discharge from the nostrils or the beak;
  • Low appetite no matter how much and different food is provided;
  • Unusual picking and plucking of the feathers;
  • Staying dirty all through;
  • Vomiting in some cases;
  • Difference in weight.

2. Budgerigar parakeet lifespan
This kind of species has a unique lifespan and styles as well. It has been noted to live for up to 8 to 10 years with a clean cage and doing some daily exercises. Eating healthy food and having lots of activities will increase the budgie lifespan.

3. Budgerigar parakeet's sex

It is not easy for one to tell whether a budgie is a male or a female. This is just like from the other bird species out there. If a cere is brown, this is likely a female, but if the cere is blue, it is a male.

4. Budgie diet
Gives your budgie a nice meal and it will have better health than any other bird. Get some seed mix as this is likely to do well in it. Some fruits and vegetables are a part of good budgie's diet.

5. Budgie breeding

The budgie parakeet is often playful and should always be provided with some partners to make sure that the lifestyle is not as boring as they grow. Their normal breeding age is 12 months while in most cases is between three to four months.

Friday, December 28, 2018

PARROTS Of The World

English: Congo African Grey Parrot (Psittacus ...
Congo African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus).
(Photo credit: 
Many parrots of the world have become popular as house pets. To some new owners, their particular parrot is the most beautiful. To other new owners, all the parrots of the world are gorgeous, with flashing colors of red, blue, green, and yellow.

Most of the parrots of the world come from warm climates such as West Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australasia, South and Central America.

Parrot Families

All parrots of the world belong to the order Psittaciformes. In that order, there are two different families: Cacatuidas and Psittacidae. Cockatoos belong in the first family, while the second includes all the true parrots of the world.

Each family of parrots has subfamilies within it, and subspecies within that. Macaws, for example, belong to the Psittacidae family. Macaws are a subfamily group. Among macaws, there are at least 17 members:

* Hyacinth
* Glaucous Macaw
* Lear's Macaw
* Spix's Macaw
* Blue and Yellow Macaw, or Blue and Gold Macaw
* Caninde Macaw
* Military Macaw
* Buffon's Macaw
* Scarlet Macaw
* Green-winged Macaw
* Red-fronted Macaw
* Yellow-collared Macaw
* Chestnut-fronted Macaw, or Severe Macaw
* Red-bellied Macaw
* Illiger's Macaw
* Blue-headed Macaw
* Red-shouldered Macaw

Most Popular

People differ in their opinions of which parrots are more well-liked. Some look at the trendy parrots. Others consider the most prevalent in the pet stores. Some speak of which is more popular in this country or that, but of all the parrots of the world, the 5 most often dubbed popular are these.

1. Parakeets: The common Parakeet, Budgerigar to be more precise, is from Australia, and is often chosen as a pet for children or those who are beginners at bird care, partly due to its low price.

Colorful little "Budgies" are hardy, require little space, and are much lower maintenance than larger birds. They are very intelligent, and although content to whistle or sing quietly, some do learn a few words. The name "Budgerigar" comes from the Australian Aboriginal name for the parrot. It means "good eating" but most "Budgie" owners would be horrified to hear you say so. Among the many parrots of the world, this is probably the least expensive in both initial and upkeep costs.

2. Cockatiels: Other Australian species, these medium sized parrots are known for sophisticated whistling and singing. While they can be taught to speak, many people find that the birds would rather whistle, and mimic random sounds, such as a ringing cell phone. A disadvantage to the cockatiel is that it uses a powdery substance to keep its wings water-proof, so owners often find their fingers dusty after handling the bird.

3. Sun Conures: Among the parrots of the world, Sun Conures are one of the brightest. Their plumage is red, orange, yellow, blue, and green. Sun Conures have been known to talk well, but beware! These parrots often screech and scream rather than talk. Their 12-inch length means they will require a smaller cage than larger parrots, but you and your family may require earplugs. If you train your Sunnie to lower its voice, you will enjoy its antics, as these parrots tend to be playful.

4. Parrotlets: Parrotlets, especially Pacific Parrotlets, are one of the smallest known parrots of the world - about 4 inches in length! They are also one of the most pernicious and spunky of all the parrots of the world. These tiny parrots learn to talk in a voice that sounds like that of a robot. This tiny voice, their size, and the fact that they do not scream, make them ideal for those who need a quiet companion.

5. African Greys: African Grey Parrots are probably the most intelligent of the parrots of the world, and indeed, of all birds. These parrots are not as colorful as some. They are mainly grey, as the name implies. They do have a bright red or maroon tail, though, depending on the subspecies. African Greys excel at mimicry, sometimes learning as many as 1-2000 words. They learn other sounds, too, and may quickly learn to imitate a jet engine if you walk through an airport with them. Among the many parrots of the world, these may be the most demanding. Just like your toddler, these birds get bored and want their owners to provide entertainment. If you are looking for an intellectual, loyal, and affectionate parrot, the African Grey is probably a good choice.

How Many Different Parrots Are There?

All told, parrots of the world number more than 350 different species and subspecies! Due to loss of habitat, climate changes, hunting, and the trade in live birds as pets, some parrots have become extinct. Others are listed as threatened or are on the "endangered species" list.

Life Expectancy

People who purchase a parrot, purchase a commitment that is likely to continue throughout their lives and beyond. Most parrot owners are already 20 years old or more, and parrots themselves often have a life expectancy of more than 50 years. Some live to be nearly 100 years old. Added to that long life expectancy, many parrots of the world tend to bond with a single person. If that person breaks the bond in some way, the parrot may die.

Before you ask a parrot to be your companion, think it through carefully. The bird may outlive you.