Home | Bird diet (page 5)

Category Archives: Bird diet

Feed Subscription

Keeping North American Birds – Natural History and Care of the Cedar Waxwing

Cedar WaxwingEven where it is common, the Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum, always elicits excitement among birders.  Widely considered to be one of the USA’s most beautiful birds, captives tame readily and have achieved some popularity among European hobbyists.  Those I’ve kept have provided many fond memories and interesting observations.


This 6-inch-long bird has a unique look that can be described as “sleek, silky and shiny”.  It is clad in muted shades of brown, gray and lemon-yellow, and sports a jaunty crest, bold black eye mask and striking scarlet-red wing tips. Read More »

Keeping and Breeding the Cuban Finch or Cuban Melodious Grassquit

Cuban GrassquitFinch keepers with a bit of room and some experience would do well to consider the gorgeous and plucky Cuban Finch, Tiaris canora.  They can be challenging, but most agree that their gorgeous colors and vibrant spirits make efforts spent on their care worthwhile.

Although not commonly seen in pet stores in the USA, Cuban Finches are well established in private collections.  The related Yellow-Faced Grassquit or Olive Finch, T. olivacea, is sometimes available from the breeders specializing in Cuban Finches. Read More »

Aracari and Toucanet Overview – Captive Care of the Spot-Billed Toucanet

MacawToucans and their relatives are among the most recognizable of all birds, and highly desired as pets.  Captives can be most engaging, but few private bird keepers have room for the large, better-known species such as the Toco Toucan.  The smaller Aracaris and Toucanets, however, are more easily accommodated.  Today I’d like to continue with my overview of this delightful group of birds by introducing the Spot-Billed Toucanet, Selenidera malirostris (please see below for articles on the care of other species).

Natural History

Spot-Billed Toucanets are native to southeastern Brazil and adjacent portions of Argentina and Paraguay, where they favor primary rainforest.  In common with the 37-40 related toucan species, they mainly forage in pairs or family groups, and generally stay to the mid or upper levels of the forest (ground feeding has been observed, however).  Read More »

Breeding Canaries, Waxbills and Other Finches – The Importance of Insects

Red-billed FirefinchWild finches of almost every species consume beetles, spiders, caterpillars and other invertebrates throughout the year, and in large quantities both before and during the breeding season.  While those we keep as pets may thrive on seed-based diets, providing them with a variety of insects will improve their health and encourage breeding.  A reader’s note concerning his success with Bronze-Winged Mannikins and the onset of the spring breeding season here in the Northern Hemisphere have sparked me to take another look at this important topic. Read More »

The Captive Care and Natural History of the Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guinea FowlHelmeted or Gray-Breasted Guineafowl, Numida meleagris, are just about the most active, responsive and interesting birds that one can imagine.  I first worked with a free-ranging flock on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, and became an immediate fan.  Related to pheasants and domestic fowl, they are perhaps best known as egg and meat-producers, but if kept as pets they will reveal many other fine qualities.  Innate alertness renders them as fine a “watch dog” as one could want, and they are supreme hunters of ticks, weed seeds, mice and other pests.

Natural History

Helmeted Guineafowl are native to West Africa, where they inhabit dry grasslands, brushy savannas and overgrown fields.  Flocks hunt in a very organized manner, sometimes walking forward through the grass in a tight line to drive prey before them.  Very little, even the young and eggs of ground-nesting birds, is spared.  Birds hunting alone will carefully stalk insects in a most amusing, “cat-like” manner, and rarely miss their targets. Read More »

Scroll To Top