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Tag Archives: softbills

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The Natural History and Captive Care of the Blue Gray Tanager

Thraupis episcopusBlue is an uncommon color in the avian world, and even more so among those birds that are kept in captivity.  When blue does occur, it is usually quite startling – Blue Jays, for example, rarely fail to draw attention; in fact, a co-worker reported that a pair had long been the star attraction of the Moscow Zoo’s Bird House.  Today I’d like to introduce one of the few “all blue” birds available to hobbyists in the USA, the Blue Gray Tanager, Thraupis episcopus. 


Blue Gray Tanagers are classified in the family Thraupidae, members of which range throughout North, Central and South America.  Many, such as the Scarlet Tanager (please see photo), are brilliantly colored.  US hobbyists may not keep native species, but the Blue Gray is legal, and captive-bred specimens are often easy to find. Read More »

Interesting Facts about Popular Finches and Softbills – Waxbills and Weavers

Congo African Grey ParrotAmong the Waxbills (Family Estrildidae) we find some of the most popular of all cage birds, most of which are referred to as “finches”.  The related Weavers and Whydahs (Family Ploceidae), less commonly kept, are valued for their unique breeding and nest-building habits.  Oddly enough, only a few species of True Finches (Fringillidae) have actually made their way into finch collections. Read More »

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