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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 »

Parrot Health Concerns – Pacheco’s Disease

Conure FamilyAlthough it often takes a “back seat” to better-known avian diseases, Pacheco’s Disease (PD) is a serious concern that should be borne in mind by responsible parrot owners.

General Information

First identified in the 1930’s, Pacheco’s Disease is highly contagious and nearly always fatal unless treated early on.  Unfortunately, it advances rapidly, and afflicted birds often show no symptoms until it is too late.  Shortly before death, birds stricken with PD may produce bright yellow urates and will pass very little fecal material; victims often expire in good weight.  Read More »

The Great Crane Escape or “Should I Trim My Bird’s Flight Feathers?” – Part 2

Sarus CraneIn Part 1 of this article I mentioned some general considerations regarding the trimming of flight feathers, and then launched into a story about a huge Saurus Crane (Grus antigone) that, while under my care at the Bronx Zoo, launched itself into the air and went sailing out over the South Bronx (its previously trimmed flight feathers had grown back in with astonishing rapidity).  I continue with the story here….

Brave Young Bird Keeper to the Rescue

Amazingly, while I was out searching for the nearly 6-foot-tall Saurus Crane, a 13-year-old boy of slight stature showed up at the zoo with the huge bird in tow.  He had its rapier-like bill, which had sent one keeper to the hospital for stitches in the past, tucked beneath his arm, exactly as should be done with potentially dangerous birds.  Read More »

Socialization – a Vital First Step When Training Your Parrot – Part 2

Conure with PuzzleIn Part I of this article we discussed the importance of socialization – the process of familiarizing your parrot with the people and things that make up its world.  Wild parrots are socialized by their parents, mates and flock members, but most or all of these important individuals may be unavailable to captives.  Un-socialized parrots generally live stress-filled lives and remain fearful of people.  Today we’ll take a look at some simple and effective socialization techniques. Read More »

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