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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 »

Gapeworm – a Common Parasite of Birds Kept in Outdoor Aviaries

GapewormsGapeworms are parasitic nematodes (Syngamus trachea) that colonize the tracheal walls (please see photo) of a wide variety of wild, domestic and pet birds.  These pests present somewhat of a dilemma, as they are associated with birds kept outdoors and/or those feeding on wild-caught invertebrates – two otherwise healthful aspects of bird-keeping! Read More »

Mandarin and Wood Ducks – Spectacular Waterfowl for the Outdoor Aviary – Part 1

Aviculturists desiring to keep ducks are fortunate in that two of the world’s most brilliantly-colored species, the Mandarin Duck (Aix graiculata) and the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), are small, hardy and have long been bred in captivity.  Despite occupying opposite ends of the globe, their natural histories and captive care are very similar.  While the decision to keep aquatic birds should not be made lightly, either of these little beauties makes an excellent “first duck” for those with the means to provide for them. Read More »

A Truly Superb Psittacine – the Superb Parrot or Barraband’s Parakeet

Superb Parrot” width=Gorgeous, friendly and a talented mimic, this Australian native truly lives up to its name.  The Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsoni), although not as commonly kept as many related species, is very hardy and an excellent choice for those wishing to expand their parrot-keeping horizons.

Description and Natural History

The Superb Parrot has a slim, elongated body of 12-14 inches in length.  The torso is clad in brilliant green and the flight feathers are blue.  The male’s forehead, throat and cheeks are bright yellow, and the throat is decorated with a splash of crimson red.  Read More »

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