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The Vasa Parrot, a Psittacine Rule-Breaker

Vasa ParrotLike much of Madagascar’s wildlife, the Vasa Parrot (or Greater Vasa Parrot, Coracopis vasa) stands apart from related species in both appearance and behavior.  Somberly-colored and with a heavy, slow mode of flight, airborne Vasa Parrots have been described as resembling “elongated, ragged crows”!  However, it’s unique natural history and interesting behavior more than make up for the lack of colorful plumage, and interest among both ornithologists and hobbyists is growing each year. Read More »

Personality or Appearance – Which Matters Most When Birds Seek Mates?

Male House FinchPeople have long pondered the role that “looks” and personality play in our personal relationships.  Recent studies of the House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) suggest that similar considerations may arise when birds go courting as well.

Drab Plumage…No Problem!

Working with wild House Finches in Arizona, ornithologists from Cornell University and the University of Arizona determined that females preferred brightly-colored (red) males to duller, orange/yellow individuals (American Naturalist, September, 2010).  The somberly-colored males, however, were not so easily put off.  It seems that, in order to compete with “handsome” males, they become more sociable – “friendlier”, if you will – and in that way attract the attention of the otherwise uninterested females.  Read More »

The Rosellas – Australia’s Brilliantly Colored Long-Tailed Parakeets

Western RosellaAmong the parrots we find some of the world’s most flamboyantly colored birds – none more so than the spectacular Rosellas. Also known as Long-Tailed Parakeets, most Rosellas sport plumage that is difficult to describe in words – their “screaming” colors must be seen.  Today we’ll take a look at a few popular species – the Eastern, Western, Northern and Crimson Rosellas. Read More »

The Care and Breeding of the Golden Sparrow

Golden Sparrow flockOne glance at a male Golden Sparrow (Passer/Auripasser luteus) will quickly dispel the common notion that all sparrows are drab, uninteresting creatures.  Also known as the Yellow Sparrow, Sudan Golden Sparrow and Golden Song Sparrow, the bright yellow-gold plumage of some males, offset by chestnut-colored wings, outshines that of the better-known Canary.  Read More »

The Banded Pitta – a Gorgeous Tropical Aviary Bird – Part 2

Banded PittaThe Banded Pitta (Pitta guajana) is highly-prized by both zoos and private aviculturists. Please see Part I of this article for information on the natural history and care of this colorful ground-dweller.  Today we’ll cover its unique dietary needs.

General Considerations

In the wild, Banded Pittas subsist entirely upon snails, earthworms, beetles, spiders and other invertebrates, with perhaps some carrion taken when available.  In Part I of this article, I compared their housing requirements to those of delicate reptiles and amphibians.   In matters of diet, we see again that their captive needs vary greatly from those of “typical” pet birds.  Read More »

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