Page 1

T H E PR E M I E R PE T & AV I A RY B I R D M AG A Z I N E

latest issue SNEAK PREVIEW

QQ See Contents for Complete List of Articles QQ Preview of Some Articles Print and Digital Magazine Purchases Print Subscriptions at www.birdkeeper.com.au or email: birdkeeper@birdkeeper.com.au Digital Single issues and Subscriptions available at www.pocketmags.com

Enquiries

Email: birdkeeper@birdkeeper.com.au Phone: 07 5568 0011 (Australia) +7 5568 0011 (International) Postal: PO Box 2330 Burleigh BC QLD 4220


T H E P R E M I E R P E T & AV I A RY B I R D M AG A Z I N E VO L 3 1 I S S U E 1 • F E B - M A R 2018

BITING!

RAINBOW LORIKEETS LONG-TAILED FINCHES GRASSES FOR FINCHES

Rare

COCKATOOS UNDERSTANDING BIRD ANATOMY


CONT EN T S february–march 2018 B PEARCE

VOLUME 31 ISSUE 1

T H E P R E M I E R P E T & AV I A RY B I R D M AG A Z I N E VO L 3 1 I S S U E 1 • F E B - M A R 2018

BITING!

RAINBOW LORIKEETS LONG-TAILED FINCHES GRASSES FOR FINCHES

Rare

COCKATOOS UNDERSTANDING BIRD ANATOMY

COVER IMAGE CITRON-CRESTED COCKATOO PETER ODEKERKEN

FE ATU RES

16 26

38 46

HOW CAN BIRDS SURVIVE IN THE MODERN WORLD? By Dorothy Schwartz Dorothy shares insights from a twoday symposium by the Zoological Society of London discussing Bird Behaviour in a Changing World: with a Special Focus on Bird Senses. WHAT’S IN A NAME? QUAIL AND BUTTON-QUAIL By Clancy Hall These ‘little brown jobs’, often overlooked in aviculture, can be truly rewarding species. But how closely related are they? THE LONG-TAILED FINCH— A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN By Graeme Hyde One of the best known and most widely kept grassfinches in Australia, the Long-tailed Finch is a delightful aviary bird for all experience levels, being sociable, long-lived, hardy and a good breeder. SUBURBAN SURVIVORS By Jade Welch Jade examines some of the parrot species which have benefited from human intervention and development, while recognising that many have not. PARROT SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION The Parrot Society of New Zealand’s International Convention in Auckland from 20–22 April 2018 offers a packed program from the first day.

REGULARS 10

PET PARROT BEHAVIOUR: LIVE A BITE-FREE LIFE—PART I By Hillary Hankey

43

WILD CORNER: TAURIEL, THE NANKEEN KESTREL By Dr Claude Lacasse

12

FINCH FUNDAMENTALS: EDIBLE GRASSES—PART I By Marcus Pollard

44

THE WISE OWL: SETTLING THE DUST ON DUST By Dr Milton Lewis

19 20

SHUTTERBUG: SUNBIRD By Chris Richardson

49

CONSERVATION • LPF: Taking Stock at Loro Parque By Rafael Zamora Padrón • WPT: Bolivia Wild Parrots Conservation Centre By Carolyn Pradun

51

LAST CHIRP: • Aviculture and Threatened Species—Finding a Way Forward By Sam Davis • Tassie Bird Import Bans— a Political Perspective By Marcus Pollard

FINCH CHARM: MY AVICULTURAL JOURNEY By David Pace

22

HOOKBILL HOBBYIST: WAYS TO AVOID FEELING LIKE AN AVIAN JAIL-KEEPER By EB Cravens

24

AVIAN HEALTH WITH DR BOB: HOW DO BIRDS WORK? By Dr Bob Doneley

30

BREEDER PERSPECTIVE: RARE COCKATOOS IN AUSTRALIAN AVICULTURE By Andrew Rankmore

34

BREEDING AUSTRALIAN PARROTS: RAINBOW LORIKEETS By Barry Blanch

40

ABOUT BIRDS: ADELIE PENGUINS By Kit Prendergast

53

CLASSIFIEDS

D ANDERSEN

5

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 1 | FEB-MAR 2018

3


CHRIS MOODY

Extremely rare, the Pink Pigeon Nesoenas mayeri, forages on woodland substrate in Mauritius

How Can Birds

SURVIVE in the Modern World? AUTHOR DOROTHY SCHWARZ I’M SURE MANY OF YOU, like me, worry and despair and ask yourself, ‘how do birds adapt to our era of rapid environmental changes and what can we do to help them?’ In 2017 the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) hosted a two-day symposium on the theme Bird Behaviour in a Changing World: with a Special Focus on Bird Senses. Scientists are examining how birds perceive the world and, with that enhanced knowledge, devising strategies which will help flocks survive environments that are becoming increasingly hostile to birdlife. The presentations, the posters, formal discussion groups, informal chats, and illustrated research projects provided

some answers to the problems birds face in migration and in conflict with human activities today. The event was organised by Dr Hannah Rowland, from the Max Plank Institute, with Professor Innes Cuthill and Dr Tom Pike, from the Universities of Bristol and Lincoln respectively. This was the second symposium on the theme. The success of the first, held at the Royal Society, led to plans for the third symposium which will take place in 2020. This second symposium was attended by delegates and speakers from the UK, USA, Canada, Europe and Australasia. The talks given by the 22 presenters—all established in their fields— ranged widely over different aspects of

bird senses and how birds are adapting, or not, to our era of rapid change. The cross-disciplinary presentations dealt with ornithology in its broadest sense. The underlying theme was how to use research to enable conservation strategies to succeed. A single article cannot describe all the topics covered but here are some of particular interest to aviculturists. TRANSLOCATION Ecologists and conservationists translocate birds to areas in an effort to bolster the dwindling wild population or install a captive-bred population in a suitable habitat. Many translocation projects fail—

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 1 | FEB-MAR 2018

5


PE T PA R R OT B EHAVI OUR AUTHOR AND IMAGES HILLARY HANKEY

Live a

BITE-FREE LIFE IT’S NO SECRET THAT PSITTACINES can deliver a pretty powerful bite. With a bill designed to crack some of nature’s toughest nuts, they can produce a painful pinch. That said, whenever someone asks me if one of my parrots bites, I remind them that anything with a mouth bites, from toddlers to T-Rexes. Whether we get bitten depends on how we interact. The truth is that getting bitten is not an inevitable part of living with parrots. We can live without getting bitten simply by teaching our parrots that there are other ways of getting their message across. In order to do this, our mindset must be that biting is a form of communication—albeit an extreme one. Parrots deliver a set of precursors in the form of body language before they bite. These are often species specific; sometimes specific to that individual. We will often see flared tail feathers, raised nape, shoulder and leg feathers, pinned eyes, an open beak, sometimes a lowered head, foot stomps, open wings, and perhaps some type of vocalisation like growls or chatter. If we consistently ignore these cues, the bird will eventually stop wasting its time offering them and go right to what works—the hardest bite that effectively gets the offending body part removed. Thus it is our duty to pay attention to the early signs and respond quickly so that our bird can get the desired message across without having to bite. REINFORCERS If we think of biting as a learned behaviour, then the first key to living a bite-free life is prevention. The prevention mindset teaches us to think in terms of what a bird values. How can a bird go from one activity to the next so that each activity is equally or more rewarding than the last? We are lucky that parrots have a variety of reinforcers—such as food, enrichment, social interaction, baths—that we can deliver to keep them from getting bored of any one reinforcer. We can use natural as well as contrived, or arranged, reinforcers to keep our parrot interested in the next activity, even when it is returning to the enclosure so that we can go to work.

Shoulder bird—there are many reasons to consider whether your bird can safely ride around on the shoulder. One major factor is if you can reliably reinforce with a high value reinforcer nearly every time you ask your bird to step off the shoulder. This will keep this behaviour strong and reduce the risk of injury

10

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 1 | FEB-MAR 2018

PART I

Blue-throated Macaw—when you are getting acquainted, or aren’t sure of a bird's mood, approach slowly with a treat and allow it to reach out and meet you part-way. This allows the bird time to show you how it will react to fingers near its face, so you can adjust accordingly

As stated in previous articles, it can be easy to get trapped into thinking that those malleable baby birds are always going to stay the way they are as youngsters, amicably stepping up whenever we ask and stepping off into their cage or onto a play gym to be left alone. In doing so we are setting ourselves up for trouble. By teaching them a step-up with positive reinforcement, ensuring that each step-up results in a valuable outcome, whether it’s food, a head rub, a toy or the opportunity to join in an activity, we can vary the reinforcers and keep the step-up cue strong. This doesn’t mean we always need to give our feathered buddy food, but we should consider keeping treats stashed nearby so that we can reinforce step-ups every so often with food. This brings up the question as to when it is most important to reinforce stepping up. Each bird is an individual and, as such, has individual preferences, but there are a couple of key activities during which we typically see biting begin to take place so we can proactively reinforce stepping up before we see challenges. Stepping up from the top of a cage or play gym is one such time, especially when the bird is difficult to reach from these locations. Teaching the bird to come towards our hand for a positive outcome—whether it’s a treat, a head rub, or a treat and the chance to be set back down to continue playing—can be highly reinforcing, so that the cue to step up doesn’t always mean that the bird is going to be returned to its cage. This process is also an important part of shoulder perching safety if the bird is able to comfortably and safely ride around on a human companion’s shoulder. A parrot can soon learn that a hand reaching up means that ‘shoulder time’ is over, so it will reach out to bite the hand unless we teach it that it can step up for something rewarding instead. This is a very important thing to keep in mind in order to keep ourselves safe, as a bird that learns to avoid and bite at hands so close to our heads can also quickly learn to displace its frustration on our ears and faces. Stepping down off our hands is also an important behaviour to reinforce, especially when our good company carries many reinforcing qualities with it. We might get in the habit of peeling


THE Long-tailed FINCH

Typical habitat of the Long-tailed Finch

R KINGSTON

P ODEKERKEN

AUTHOR GRAEME HYDE

Long-tailed Finch Poephila acuticauda

THE LONG-TAILED FINCH Poephila acuticauda is one of the best known and widely kept of all the Australian grassfinches. It has long been established in Australian aviculture, and in countries including England, Europe and North America. Its yellow beak and smooth feathering, coupled with its distinctive markings and attenuated central tail feathers make it an easy species to identify. It can be housed and bred as a single pair in a small aviary, or as a small colony of 3–5 pairs, allowing these birds to interact socially with their delightful mannerisms and quirky behaviour. The Longtail has also adapted extremely well to cage-breeding in bird rooms in countries where finch and waxbill species need to be housed and bred in indoors, due to inclement weather conditions.

of London, March 1840 (p. 143). The type specimens were collected in Derby, Western Australia, and sent to Gould by Benjamin Bynoe, assistant surgeon on HMS Beagle during its historic survey expedition for the British Admiralty. The appointed crew included Charles Darwin as naturalist and it is often referred to as Darwin’s ‘Voyage of Discovery’—which it was! It left England on 27 December 1831, returning home on 2 October 1836. In Australia, the red-billed subspecies of the Long-tailed Finch P. a. hecki, is probably referred to more often as the Heck’s Finch rather than the Long-tailed Finch or Longtail. It was described in 1901 by Oskar Heinroth, a German biologist who was on a collecting expedition for the Berlin Zoo, who named it after Ludwig Heck, the zoo’s director.

NAMING This species was described and named the ‘Long-tailed Grass Finch’ by John Gould in England at a meeting of the Zoological Society on 8 October 1839, information from which was then published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society

DISTRIBUTION The range of the Long-tailed Finch extends from the Kimberley in Western Australia, across the top of the Northern Territory to the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland. It is common in savannah grasslands, especially in lightly timbered

26

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 1 | FEB-MAR 2018

Eucalypt woodlands, along creeks and rivers. Its range corresponds approximately with the nominate form of its close relative, the Masked Finch Poephila personata. It has become established around permanent fresh water that includes creeks and waterholes. In the drier interior, it is found near cattledrinking facilities, dams and bores. DESCRIPTION A detailed description is not necessary as the accompanying photos eloquently convey the charm of this delightful bird. One of the best descriptions I have read was by the ornithologist Neville W Cayley, author of Australian Finches in Bush and Aviary (1932), who wrote: ‘Its colouring is a perfect harmony of grey and shades of fawn, enlivened with striking patches of black and white; added to which are the yellow or orange-red bill and the long attenuated black tail…The Long-tailed Finch is, to my mind, the most graceful of all the Australian finches’.


BR EED E R P ER S P ECTI VE AUTHOR AND IMAGES ANDREW RANKMORE

J WELCH

P ODEKERKEN

Rare Cockatoos in AUSTRALIAN AVICULTURE

The Triton Cockatoo Cacatua galerita triton

Umbrella Cockatoo

COCKATOOS REPRESENT A FASCINATING and enjoyable species for all aviculturists. They are medium to large parrots that have the unique erectile crest that identifies members of the family. There are 21 separate species in the Cacatuidae family, which includes the two primary genera of Calyptorhynchus (Black Cockatoos) and Cacatua (White Cockatoos). The smallest cockatoo, the Cockatiel, is in stark contrast to the largest, the Goliath Palm Cockatoo, demonstrating the vast range in species available within the family. Cockatoos come in almost every size and colour variation, with even stranger ‘designs’ occurring in natural and captive hybrids between subspecies in the genus. The range of cockatoos focuses on the Australasian region that includes Australia (where 11 of the 21 species occur), Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. By studying and researching the species’ wild behaviour and habitat preferences, a strong indication can be

30

gained of potential captive tendencies that provide significant insight into husbandry approaches required. Birds from open areas demonstrate greater nomadic tendencies than those from forest environments due to food availability and environmental stability (not accounting for human interference). This wild lifestyle will also impact on captive needs, with nomadic species generally adapting to change and human activity with greater ease than those historically from stable and secluded environments. IN CAPTIVITY Cockatoos represent one of the most commonly kept families of bird in aviculture. They are typically found as individual pets and within the collections of ‘keener’ bird enthusiasts. They tend to be very active and show a great willingness to interact with their human keepers, adding to the attraction of keeping them. In Australia, their popularity in the wider avicultural trade waxes and wanes with our very trend-dependent market.

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 1 | FEB-MAR 2018

For some periods, everything cockatoo is in vogue, and then a period of disinterest occurs, with the popularity cycle reoccurring about every five years. Most species adapt well to a variety of situations, including suspended and conventional aviaries, and can typically be bred with relative ease, provided compatible pairs and adequate environmental conditions are present. While much has been written about Australian Cockatoos, little if any time has been devoted to in-depth texts about the Indonesian/Papuan/Phillipine species, with a resulting lack of peer-reviewed publications to aid keepers in perfecting their husbandry. However, basic needs and genus knowledge can be gained successfully from ABK’s A Guide to Australian White Cockatoos and A Guide to Black Cockatoos as Pet and Aviary Birds. Due to the size variation within the cockatoo family, no median aviary size can be recommended. However, birds must have adequate flight space and


BR EED IN G AU STRALI AN PARROTS AUTHOR BARRY BLANCH Grad Cert App Sc. Ornithologyy IMAGES BARRY & JULIE JU ULI LIE E BLANCH H

Rainbow

LORIKEETS THE RAINBOW LORIKEET Trichoglossus heamatodus mollucconus is one of the 21 species of the Trichoglossus genus. It is a very familiar bird to most Australians due to its presence throughout parks and gardens in heavily populated capital cities. Flowering shrubs producing pollen and nectar, along with fruiting trees and vines, are its preferred food. It is not a shy bird, so can easily be approached while feeding and often displays or shows off with comical behaviour. This is one reason Rainbows are very commonly kept as pets. Over the past 25 years, a number of mutation colours have been developed, giving added meaning to the word ‘rainbow’. DESCRIPTION Both sexes are similar in appearance. The head is violet-blue, with lighter blue feather shafts. The collar at the back of the head is yellowish-green. The chest is varying shades of red-orange, the abdomen violet-blue, back and wings are bright green, underwing yellowish with orangered feathers, the undertail yellow and the beak orange-red. Immatures are slightly darker in colour, with a black beak. DISTRIBUTION AND WILD HABITS Rainbows inhabit mainly coastal areas of northern and eastern Australia, from the tip of Cape York to southern areas around Adelaide, in South Australia. The birds rarely venture more than 350km inland from the coastal fringes. Rainbows thrive in coastal towns and cities, parks and gardens, also taking advantage of higher rainfalls. Rainbows have also become a pest when congregating in their thousands in roosting trees within city limits, leaving excrement and creating deafening noise all through the night, often in lit areas. Over recent years, a large colony has established itself around the city of Perth in Western Australia, probably due to escaped birds, and they have become a pest, causing authorities to take action due to significant damage to vineyards and orchards in the Swan Valley and Perth Hills. It only takes one pair of Rainbows to get a taste of fruit, whether in vineyards or orchards. The word spreads and soon the birds are there in their thousands.

34

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 1 | FEB-MAR 2018

Normal Rainbow Lorikeet

One vineyard owner reported leaving a handful of grapes on his vines at the end of the season that had not been suitable to use. He noticed a couple of pairs of Rainbows eating them. The next year he didn’t pick a single grape because the lorikeets turned up in their thousands, damaging the whole year’s crop. Rainbows eat all fruits and, when food supply is plentiful in any given area they inhabit, the population explodes. IN CAPTIVITY Housing It is best to house Rainbow Lorikeets in suspended aviary flights, with a covered safety flight at the rear. Flights should measure about 2.4m long x 90cm square, with roof area of 1.5m covered with roofing iron, and at least a 1m sheeted partition at the back of the flight for privacy in feeding and a nesting area. Only one pair should occupy each flight to eliminate aggression. Nest boxes are best mounted in the safety flight, with an access hole to the flight. This ensures there are no escapees


M A K E S A L E S B Y A D V E R T I S I N G I N A U S T R A L I A' S H I G H E S T C I R C U L AT I N G B I R D M A G A Z I N E

Bird Aviaries PRIVATE BREEDERS FOR OVER 30 YEARS

INDIAN RINGNECKED MUTATIONS

Clear-headed Clear-tailed In all colours & Splits Violets, Violet Lacewings, Violet Greens, Lacewings—all colours. Mauve & Cobalt Ringnecks—all colours. Single & Breeding pairs. MOUSTACHE PARROTS SUN CONURES SCARLET-CHESTED PARROTS PLUM-HEADS, ALEXANDRINES, PRINCESS PARROTS—Yellows and splits FISCHER’S & MASKED LOVEBIRD MUTATIONS FREIGHT AUSTRALIA WIDE Phone Peter Russell (07) 3261 7663 or 0402 227 195 TOP QUALITY BIRDS GUARANTEED

ADVERTISE your Birds and Products

Mutation MOUSTACHE Mutation PLUMHEADS 3 Walk-in hexagonal designs - a Mutation range of sizes. Modular design. INDIAN RINGNECKS 3 Galvanised front with sheeted backs, weatherproof. Flat-pack. VOSMAERI ECLECTUS 3 Bolt-together assembly. In stock. LUTINO GALAHS Get Double the Exposure for your Advertising— Phone Steve @ Shed27 Capalaba Phone Nigel (02) 6865 2261 in Print and on the Web* Tel 07-32455122 or 0414-656577

on BirdKeeper Website *Only Available to Print Advertisers

GALAHS

BLUE AND SPLITS MATURE CINNAMON COCK SPLIT LUTINO COCKS

WINDWOOD AVIARIES

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS $20 extra AFRICAN

Birds for coming season INDIAN RINGNECKS Opaline in Blue, Green, Violet, Emerald, Cobalt Dominant Pieds in Cobalt, Violet, Emerald, Blue, Pastel Whitehead Whitetails in Violet, Emerald, Grey, Blue, Pastel Cobalt, Violet, Emerald and combinations SCARLET-CHESTED PARROTS Violet Green split White-fronted Blue Violet Blue, Violet Parblue Violet Seagreen LUTINO TURQUOISINES BLUE BLUE-WINGED PARROTS

GREYS BLUE AND MACAWS GOLD MACAWS DISPLAY ADVERTISEMENTS BLUE & GOLD AVAILABLE NOW

$30 extra

From 4 months old to Phone Tod Osborne 14 months old. Hand reared and Aviary bred (03) 5762 3724 Happy to ship interstate Be Seen Before BirdKeeper Hits the Birds are fed Roudybush and fresh fruit and water daily  Phone 07 5568 0011 or Sexing Certificate provided

Lay-By Available, Orders Taken Will Freight Aust Wide Call 0431 495 899 or email windwoodaviaries@bigpond.com

Streets!

HANDREARING FORMULAS email birdkeeper@birdkeeper.com.au IN BULK

SMS 0418 644 444 Dural NSW KARMIC AVIARIES

EST 1984 VIOLET AND PIED RINGNECKS Blue Series Green-cheeked Conure Lutino in Quakers and Alexandrines Dilute Red-collared Lorikeets Caiques, Amazons and Hahn’s Macaws Lutino Galah and Little Corellas

Phone 0409 401 839

60

INDIAN RINGNECK

MUTATIONS

www.ourringnecks.com Email: raelene@ourringnecks.com

Phone Raelene

0409 438 620

Freight Australia Wide Phone Kim 0414 342 087 Pet City, Mt Gravatt

Sneak preview 31 1  

Our latest issue features Rare Cockatoos in Australia Rainbow Lorikeets and their Mutations Long-tailed Finches Grasses for Finches Understa...

Sneak preview 31 1  

Our latest issue features Rare Cockatoos in Australia Rainbow Lorikeets and their Mutations Long-tailed Finches Grasses for Finches Understa...

Advertisement