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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

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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 4 • AU G -S E P 2018

Amazons

LORIES

YELLOWRUMPED

MANNIKINS

COCKATIELS

PET PARROT

Behaviour and Training Dealing with

PUBERTY


CONTENTS august–september 2018 VOLUME 31 ISSUE 4

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 4 • AU G -S E P 2018

Amazons YELLOWRUMPED

MANNIKINS

COCKATIELS

PET PARROT

Behaviour and Training Dealing with

PUBERTY

COVER IMAGE DOUBLE YELLOWHEADED AMAZON A. o. magna JADE WELCH

D MONROGER

LORIES

FE ATU RES 185

206 210

220

226

COFFEE AND COCOA KILLING ECUADORIAN BIRDS By Daniel Brockner Few of us think, as we relax with our morning coffee, where it comes from, or the effect its production could be having on the environment, bird and animal life. DRAWING ON WILDLIFE IS A LIFE’S INSPIRATION By Janet Matthews Janet shares how she has been able to combine her love of birds and art. AMAZONA MAGIC: COMMON AMAZONS IN AUSTRALIA By Jade Welch Amazon Parrots are one of the most popular groups of parrots, famed for their beauty, diversity, ability to talk and character. Jade examines four of the most common species kept in Australia. YOUNG BIRD KEEPER: ANALYSING CALCIUM ABSORPTION IN POULTRY By Justin Jones With the ongoing push towards free-range eggs, Justin shares an experiment comparing different farm settings, hens’ exposure to UVB light, and the corresponding calcium component within the egg shell, used as an indication of birds’ health. VALE: ROBIN JAMES HILL By Danny Brown Danny pays his respects to Robin Hill—breeder, photographer and mentor.

236

REGU L A RS

CLASSIFIEDS

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BREEDER PERSPECTIVE: EXOTIC LORIES IN AUSTRALIA —PART 1 By Andrew Rankmore

215

192

FINCH FUNDAMENTALS: THE YELLOW-RUMPED MANNIKIN By Marcus Pollard

FINCH CHARM: BACK IN ACTION TO BREED By David Pace

217

WILD CORNER: GANDALF, THE WONGA PIGEON By Dr Claude Lacasse

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BREEDING AUSTRALIAN PARROTS: COCKATIELS By Barry Blanch

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AVIAN HEALTH WITH DR BOB: BIRD KEEPING MYTH BUSTERS By Dr Bob Doneley

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PET PARROT BEHAVIOUR: UNDERSTANDING HOW BIRD BEHAVIOUR IMPACTS ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP By Hillary Hankey

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THE WISE OWL: CARING FOR OUR FEATHERED TOURISTS By Dr Milton Lewis

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CONSERVATION: • WPT: Fighting Escalated Parrot Trafficking in Indonesia • LPF: Project to Save Cosigüina Volcano Scarlet Macaws

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SHOW BENCH: • Victorian Victory at Australian National Budgerigar Championships By Nola Bradford • 34th Orana Avicultural Society Annual Show By Geoff Wheeler

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LAST CHIRP: • Parrots 2018 By James Goodrich

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HOOKBILL HOBBYIST: MANAGING PET PARROT PUBERTY By EB Cravens

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ABOUT BIRDS: BACKYARD BIRD FEEDING: BENEFICIAL, BENIGN OR BAD? —PART 1 By Kit Prendergast

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A PARROT’S LIFE: THE IMPORTANCE OF SCALE-TRAINING PARROTS By Georgia Kerr

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 4 | AUG-SEP 2018

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Little effort is made ‘towards reforestation, and wildlife struggles to adapt...

The Plate-billed Mountain Toucan— classified as Near Threatened (IUCN)

Crimson-rumped Toucanet—losing its habitat to coffee, cocoa, bananas and sugar cane

WHEN THE FIRST RAYS of sunlight appear on the horizon and the alarm clock goes off, there is nothing better than a large, hot cup of coffee to kick off the day. Millions of people begin their days with pure gold. Children, meanwhile, have developed a fondness for drinking hot cocoa or cold chocolate milk for breakfast. Yet we tend to overlook where our products and their ingredients come from. Even less frequently do we realise the negative effects that the cultivation of coffee and cocoa have on the flora and fauna of their countries of origin. So, let’s take a collective trip to Ecuador—in the middle of the Andes at the edge of South America—to find out what happens to the flora and fauna there when we turn on our coffee machines and open a fresh pack of coffee. AGRICULTURE DESTROYS JUNGLE HABITAT Ecuador, located in the middle of the Andes, is known for its spectacular mountain landscapes, a centuries-old culture and the most biodiverse jungles on our planet. However, it also exports bananas, roses, coffee and cocoa. Since Ecuador has comparatively little industry, agriculture is the main source of income for its16 million citizens. When you leave the capital city, Quito, and drive towards the coast, you traverse Ecuador’s legendary cloud forest. Before long, however, the densely overgrown

Coffee and Cocoa Killing

Ecuadorian Birds AUTHOR AND IMAGES DANIEL BROCKNER TRANSLATION PATRICK ROLAND

cloud forest becomes patchy and deforested areas become the norm. These areas are used for cattle-grazing or to cultivate coffee and cocoa. At an altitude of 1500m, the climate—high rainfall and pleasantly warm for most of the year—is ideal for agriculture. Our beloved coffee and cocoa thrive in these conditions, where centuries-old jungle once stood. Its loss has a devastating impact on the ecosystem. Little effort is made towards reforestation, and wildlife struggles to adapt to the constantly and rapidly shrinking habitat. Among the species affected is the Plate-billed Mountain Toucan Andigena Iaminirostris. Already Endangered, it has suffered massively from the jungle being cleared and has now been classified as Near Threatened by the

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Plate-billed Mountain Toucan’s habitat is a small territory from Colombia to Ecuador. It is found only at an altitude of 1600–2600m and, through continuous clearing of the cloud forest, it is constantly losing more and more of its crucial habitat. According to Mongabay, a non-profit provider of conservation and environmental science news, clearing of the Ecuadorian forests increased significantly from 2001 to 2012. Just a few metres in altitude below, many other bird species are also threatened by habitat loss. The Chestnuttipped Toucanet Aulacorhynchus derbianus lives at an altitude of 1600m. This small, green relative of the Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, like countless other bird species, is losing large parts of its natural

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185


B R EED E R P ER S PECTI VE AUTHOR ANDREW RANKMORE

THIS IS AN AREA OF THE HOBBY I have been fascinated by for many years. The Lorinae genus would have to be the most colourful and vivid of all parrots. Although most have been available in Australia for many years, I have not focused on them and have therefore only had experience with a few species. I am aware there were several lory-only facilities in the past, but most of these lory fanatics have since moved either on to other parrots or left the hobby altogether. Hence, this area of aviculture is particularly sensitive in terms of sustainability. WHAT MAKES AN EXOTIC LORY? Closely related to the lorikeet genus endemic to Australia, the exotic lories from overseas are also kept here. Typically, they have come from islands north of Australia, such as New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Micronesia. These tropical habitats provide rainforests and vegetation that have seen the lory succeed until the more recent impacts of man. Humans have either aided or devastated lory populations, with very few populations left untouched. We often hear about the negative impacts of human interference, but in some instances the clearing of land, together with plantation or cropping practices, has helped some species to become overly prolific, reaching pest proportions. Technically, however, the difference between a lory and lorikeet is much harder to define. Genetic studies suggest that both the lory and lorikeet are really the one group of birds, closely related to Fig Parrots and even the Budgerigar! In Australia, lories are defined as those species that form the Chalcopsitta, Eos, Pseudeos, and Phigys groups. They are visibly different, with a tendency to be larger and heavier in body size with a shorter, more square tail. Lory colouration also seems to be more vibrant than most lorikeet species, featuring a large number of ‘red’ pigmented species— something quite rare in the parrot world in evolutionary terms.

188

PART 1

J WELCH

Exotic Lories IN AUSTRALIA Black Lory enjoying an apple

DIET The diet of lory species seems to be the most important aspect of their husbandry, far more so than for most lorikeets. In my experience, few homemade brands of ‘lory food’ are suitable, and even commercial brands need to be approached with caution. A key indicator of a poor diet is the rather lame look of a lory. Inadequate nutrition will present through changes in feather colour, among other things. A healthy lory should always be moving in daylight and appear light on their feet, with a willingness to fly constantly, while the feathers should keep a very bright and shiny colour typical to the appropriate species. In my observations, the Avione™ Lory Dry (served dry or wet) provides a sound base feed for these birds, and a variety of suitable fruit and vegetable material can be added to form a more nutritionally balanced diet. At minimum, I found that a serving of pear every day, in combination with the Avione™ Dry mix, rectified nutritional deficiencies in

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 4 | AUG-SEP 2018

my lories, as observed through feather colour changes that mimic a mutation pied. Lories, therefore, need a quality, and at times expensive, feed mix to maintain their unique requirements, and some commitment to their management is required by prospective keepers. HOUSING Lories are typically kept in suspended aviaries in Australia due to their messy nature and the tendency for spilt food to become a source of bacterial infection in conventional set-ups. Having kept lories in both small and large suspended aviaries, it is no surprise that bigger is better. Aviaries measuring 6m long x 2m high x 1m wide per pair keep the birds in top shape physically and mentally to avoid feather-picking and behavioural problems that can occur. I have found lories can be rather susceptible to stress, and consideration must be given to the suitability of neighbouring species, as well as the access of dogs and cats to the


FI NC H CH AR M AUTHOR AND IMAGES DAVID PACE

I HAD JUST COMPLETED design and building of six brand new aviaries, all landscaped and planted, at my new home in Adelaide. It was time to begin stocking them with various finch and softbill species. I had been without birds for two years, so after the trials and tribulations of chasing planning and building permits, the moment had finally arrived. My good friend Glenn McCarthy, from Victoria, had a number of birds ready for me and, through various sources in the aviculture network, I was surprised at how quickly the aviaries were stocked…or, should I say, over-stocked! THE PLAN Core Species In the development of these aviaries for finches and softbills, several species were non-negotiable. Diamond Firetails, Crimson Finches and Pictorellas, together with Painted Button-quail and Scarletchested Parrots are my personal core species—species I will always keep. I am a firm believer that as breeders, we should maintain at least one species (more preferably) that we have expertise and experience with. Some breeders have a tendency to move on and dispose of a species once they have had some breeding success or when a species becomes unpopular. I encourage breeders to maintain core species and become specialised in that species, helping to maintain it in aviculture for others to breed. The reasons for choosing a particular core species range from aesthetics and/ or behavioural traits, through to simply having the ‘breeder’s touch’ with that species. Many of us are aware that some species breed well for us, while others are more challenging. My core species are all species that I find aesthetically pleasing, enjoy the behavioural traits of, and were initially challenging to breed, but which I now usually have consistent breeding successes with. The other non-negotiable was that all species were wild-type ‘Normal’ birds—in other words, birds that did not carry the mutation gene. Hence my Scarlet-chested Parrots were sourced from breeders that shared the same philosophy.

192

The delightful Plum-headed Finch is ideally housed in single pairs or a colony of two or more pairs

BACK IN ACTION TO

Breed

Other species sourced included Grenadier and Napoleon Weavers, Redbrowed Firetails (Mt Lofty subspecies), Crimson, Plum-headed, Masked, Blackthroated, Painted and Gouldian Finches. Softbill Species Moving to South Australia from Victoria had two major advantages as far as being a finch and softbill breeder is concerned. Firstly, the weather is milder and more conducive to breeding and, secondly, many more softbill species can be legally kept in South Australia (although the situation in Victoria is slowly improving as more species are added to the available list). I was keen to include several softbill species in my collection, some of which I had previously never kept. These included Crimson Chats, White-browed Woodswallows, White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Superb Blue Wrens, Little Button-quail, Spinifex Pigeons and Inland Dotterels. While maintaining my core species, these additions are my new challenge, and I look forward to working with them during the coming breeding season.

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 4 | AUG-SEP 2018

Spinifex Pigeons share an aviary with various softbill and finch species, and Rock Parrots

SOURCING STOCK Young Partly-coloured Birds In selecting new stock, I ensure wherever possible, that birds are young and, preferably, partly coloured. A partlycoloured bird is undeniably a young bird, as opposed to someone else’s interpretation of a ‘young’ bird. We’ve all heard it a million times from sellers when asked how old a bird is. ‘These are this


AUTHOR BARRY BLANCH Grad Cert App Sc. Ornithology IMAGES JULIE BLANCH

Cockatiels

Wild Cockatiels

THE COCKATIEL Nimphicus hollandicus is the smallest member of the cockatoo family in Australia and the only member of the genus Nimphicus. ‘Hollandicus’ refers to New Holland, an historic name for Australia. Many Cockatiel characteristics and traits resemble those of larger cockatoos, including an erect crest. This cockatoo also lacks the pigmentation that produces the green colours found in other similarly sized parrots. Cockatiels are very widespread over most of Australia. The first pair of birds that I kept as a young boy were pure native Cockatiels, obtained from the bush.

Cockatiel/Cockatoo Characteristics The crest, as with other cockatoos, reflects the bird’s character and emotional state. Cockatiels are also similar in their anatomy to the larger cockatoos, as they have a gall bladder and feather dust that aren’t found in most parrots. Cockatiels have a round-tipped tongue, scoop water into their bottom mandible to drink, reverse into nest logs when breeding, and display the same mating ritual as other cockatoos, clicking their bills quietly and raising their wings above their heads. They have a noticeable ear patch, similar to Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, White-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.

196

Normal wild-type Cockatiel female

DESCRIPTION Cockatiels have a soft, high-pitched, pleasant melodic whistle call and emit a soft chirping sound when resting. Cockatiels measure 30-33cm in length. They don’t naturally feature the bright, attractive colours of other Australian parrots, but are well recognised by their prominent yellow head and long crest. In males, the upper body is darkish grey, whereas the front, from the lower throat down to the undertail coverts, is a pastel ash grey. Prominent bright orange ear patches contrast against the lemon-yellow forehead, cheek, throat and part of the crest feathers. The rest of the upper body, including the upper wing and tail coverts, from the nape down over the mantle and rump, is a dark grey-black. Median and greater wing coverts carry a wide white stripe.

BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 4 | AUG-SEP 2018

Tail feathers are coal black. In females, the general body area is grey, tinged with brown. The crest and head are grey and the face has tinges of dirty yellow, with duller orange ear patches. Lower back, rump and uppertail coverts are also greyish-brown with a yellowish tinge. Underparts, including the flank, thigh, vent and undertail covert feathers, carry pale yellow lace bars, while the upper and central tail feathers are a mottled grey and white. The female carries the same bars in rump and tail as female Gang Gangs, Red-tailed, Yellow-tailed and White-tailed Black Cockatoos. Immatures appear similar to females until they reach their first moult at 7–8 months old, when males start showing signs of a yellow face, and the ear patches turn brighter orange. Males retain the barring on the undertail coverts for 12 months before it fades and becomes a solid brown-black colour. HABITAT AND RANGE Cockatiels are Australian natives and inhabit most of the mainland, with the exception of coastal areas of eastern and northern Australia, and dry, desert areas. They are absent from Tasmania, although a few escapees have been seen at times. Their preferred habitat features rich, fertile soils receiving good rainfall. They are very nomadic and migrate north-east, south and west according to the season, and will

P ODEKERKEN

B R EED IN G AU STRALI AN PARROTS


PET PAR R OT BEHAVI OUR AUTHOR AND IMAGES HILLARY HANKEY

UNDERSTANDING How Bird Behaviour

Impacts on Your Relationship

Is this bird angry at me or just unmotivated to take treats from me? Don’t place human motivations for behaviour on your bird

THE 26-YEAR-OLD YELLOW-NAPED AMAZON turned his body to face the opposite direction after the fifth bit of almond he had taken from my fingertips. He moved to the far end of the play gym. ‘Now when he does that right there, I think he is mad at me,’ my client explained as she watched from the sofa. The Amazon picked at his toes a bit and wiped his beak on the edge of the play gym tray. ‘So then what happens?’ I asked her. She explained that she feels defeated and gives up training him for a few weeks. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY I told my client that I didn’t take it personally that her bird had refused food from me. I had failed to find a motivating strategy and, to be fair, it was our first meeting. He has had a long history of eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and tons of other fatty and carb-rich foods without any contingency his whole life. Even though he hadn’t eaten much that morning in preparation for our session, he likely had munched on his leftovers until late last night. It would take a few days on a new program of ‘Desserts for Doing Stuff’ to motivate him for training sessions. My client read the interaction in a different way, and took the bird’s actions

JEALOUSY With many parrots living in multiplehuman, and even multiple-parrot households, jealousy is another prevalent narrative by which we explain the interaction in front of us. Perhaps the parrot owner is interacting with another parrot, pet, or human, and it evokes a strong reaction from the parrot, whether it’s lunging, biting, or even flighted attacks.

Jealous bird—in relationships, look at the conditions that set up problem behaviours and rearrange those to avoid an escalating encounter

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BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 4 | AUG-SEP 2018

Birds have complex emotional lives. When problem-solving, base your behaviour change programs on what you see, not what you assume

Emotions in animals are incredibly complex, and for many years were a taboo topic lest the research be labelled anthropomorphic. So, how can we differentiate whether a parrot is feeling jealous, territorial, or is resource-guarding? We aren’t mind-readers. What we do know is that the parrot brain works in a very different way than ours, and while the physical situation in which we find them may look the same, our emotional response could vary greatly. FALSE NARRATIVES It’s easy to understand why we go through life with our pets creating narratives to fill in the gaps in understanding their actions. They can’t tell us what their thoughts are, and when we are devoid of this information in our human relationships, we offer these stories to help us navigate our way through our day with our coworkers, spouse, friends, and close family members. However, even in these human relationships, creating a narrative to diagnose a problem is fraught with peril. A pensive coworker who comes across as aloof may be dealing with a health issue. A friend who lashes out seemingly in anger at us could be dealing with family issues. It’s easy to mix up cues using our own emotional baggage when the behaviour

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as a personal affront to her as a person. The parrot was mad, he was behaving spitefully and, if we didn’t appease his emotional state, he would give a physical rebuke. It clearly hurt her feelings that after their very long history together, she wasn’t his favourite person. It was understandable that she didn’t then want to put the effort into working with him, trying to tiptoe around the emotions she felt that he was experiencing. Again, based on her reading of the information she had, it was easy to see how she felt the way she did, and this is a common scenario I run into with clients.

Implementing these lights into your bird’s daily life aids in improving feeding and breeding behaviour Call Anthony on 0481 332 329 or Find us on Facebook Arcadia Reptile and Bird Australia

www.arcadia-aust.com.au


Amazona Magic Common Amazons in Australia AUTHOR AND IMAGES JADE WELCH

Keeping and ‘ breeding these parrots will help establish your husbandry practices...

Blue-fronted Amazon

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BIRDKEEPER.COM.AU | VOL 31 ISSUE 4 | AUG-SEP 2018

WITHOUT A DOUB WITHOUT W DOUBT THE GENUS AMAZONA A AM AZONA is one of the most popular Commonly referred ggroups gr oups of parrots. Co Amazon Parrots these tto o as Amazons or Am for their beauty, sspecies pecies are famed fo diversity, talk, character, rarity d iversity, ability to ta i some species, and much more. Despite in tthe he name applied to these birds, the genus the Amazon, with is not restricted to th members found from South America, in Brazil and Argentina, up countries such as Br to Mexico, as well as the Caribbean. They are typically medium-sized, predominately green parrots. However, the Amazon breaks the mould, White-fronted Amazo about 25cm. measuring only abou Numerous articles and a few books have Amazons, and all help been published on A reasons why aviculturists to highlight the reaso world over have fallen and pet owners the w for these birds. Some aviculturists dedicate their aviaries solely tto keeping Amazona. these birds also Aviculture aside, th play p pl ay a role in various cultures in their homelands and abroad. They appear in advertisements, on talent shows, in freeflight shows and, in a recent edition of an overseas cooking show, three Yellownaped Amazons sang and called out from their cage as the cooks went about making their meals! In Australia we are fortunate to have access to a wide range of species and subspecies of Amazons. With that being said, in this article I want to focus on the more commonly kept Amazons in Blue-fronted, YellowAustralia—the BlueYellow-headed and crowned, Double Yel Keeping and breeding these Yellow-naped. Keepi establish your husbandry parrots will help esta practices for if/when you wish to move into the rarer and, at times, more difficult Amazon Parrot species. to keep and breed Am


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Australian BirdKeeper Magazine  

Our latest issue features: Amazons Lories Yellow-rumped Mannikins Cockatiels Pet Parrot Behaviour and Training Dealing with Puberty C...

Australian BirdKeeper Magazine  

Our latest issue features: Amazons Lories Yellow-rumped Mannikins Cockatiels Pet Parrot Behaviour and Training Dealing with Puberty C...

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