Eclectus Parrot Ownership is Rewarding

October 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

When people look for a pet bird to join their family, most owners want a one that can be affectionate, a great companion and that has the ability to fit into their daily routines. The Eclectus parrot is often overlooked as a pet bird, and owners unknowingly miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a bird that is loving, intelligent and easily manageable, if they know what their basic needs are. This breathtakingly beautiful bird is not demanding at all and is actually one of the best pet parrots on the market today.

The most distinguishing feature of the Eclectus parrot is the fact that they are dimorphic. Dimorphic means that one can distinguish between the males and females just by looking at them. In the case of the Eclectus, it is the vastly different coloring that makes it easy. The male Eclectuses are covered in green plumage with variations of orange, blue and red under their wings. Their beaks are also unusually orange in color. The females are just as attractive as the males, but have bright red plumage covering their heads and neck, with their backs and chest being purple in color and their wings displaying variations of purple and blue underneath. The females have smooth black beaks. Another unique feature is the fact that the Eclectus parrot has hair-like feathers on their heads, back and chest, opposed to the smooth, locked and contoured feathers on their wings and tails.

As pets, owners will find their Eclectus parrot to be extremely gentle and fond of interaction, even though they will never demand it. They are able to integrate into the daily routines of their owners quite easily and will sit quietly while daily duties are being performed. Through enough love and care, Eclectus parrots will be able to learn a large vocabulary and their inquisitiveness makes them quick learners. They are highly intelligent birds and will quickly notice small changes in their environment. The Eclectus species is generally a healthy bird with a life span of approximately fifty years. They have simple dietary needs of fruit and seeds and enjoy changes made in their food, such as grapes one day and maybe apples the next. Owners will not regret adding an Eclectus parrot to their family, as their gentle and friendly natures make them a pet family and friends can enjoy.

Farmers Could Save Endangered Ibis

October 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

The elegant white-shouldered Ibis is a critically endangered wading bird that is found in the southern regions of Laos, Vietnam, the eastern region of Kalimantan and in the northern areas of Cambodia. Its natural habitat includes wet grasslands, sand and gravel bars at the water’s edge, marshes and forests that do not consist of dense vegetation. The coloring is quite distinctive with dark plumage covering the bird’s body, red legs and a bald black head. Its name is derived from a unique feature which can be found on the inner forewing of the white-shouldered Ibis, a light, almost white, colored patch of plumage.

This beautiful bird has found its way onto the critically endangered list, the IUCN Red List, of bird species and it is estimated that there are fewer than 250 birds remaining in the world. Recent studies have revealed that there could be ways to save this wonderful bird, as they began to investigate the reasons behind the speedy decline in the species. The University of East Anglia has recently published their results.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds funded the project and studies were concentrated in Cambodia, as the biggest collection of the white-shouldered Ibis is found here. Watching and studying the approximately 160 to 200 birds, has revealed that they prefer open areas, with open sand areas and ground level vegetation, as it makes access to prey easier, makes it easier for the birds to see oncoming danger and assists them in landing and take off as there are less obstacles. What has made the study even more fascinating is the fact that human interaction almost always plays a negative role in the survival of animal and bird species, but in the case of the white-shouldered Ibis, human activity is playing a vital role in the protection of the remaining birds. Open fields where livestock graze and areas that are burnt down by farmers to create more open fields, in turn accommodate these birds and opens more habitats to them. As the white-shouldered Ibis seems to be dependant on the farmers for their existence, it is hoped that this relationship between farmer and Ibis can assist in the survival of the species and hopefully increase white-shouldered Ibis numbers.

Red-Billed Chough Project in Portugal

September 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

The Red-Billed Chough species falls under the crow family. It is easily recognized by its features that include a longish curved beak and red coloring, red legs and pitch-black plumages that glisten in the sun. They are known to mate for life and also remain at their breeding site. Nests can be found on cliff faces and caves. But concern has grown over an area in Portugal where there once was an abundance of Red-Billed Choughs, and nests were an ordinary sight. The surrounding area of Chaos has not recorded a sighting of a Red-Billed Chough in a long time, and steps are being taken to correct the loss of these birds in the area.

The herding of goats in the Chaos countryside was once a very active form of agriculture, but as the agricultural lands began to be abandoned, the vegetation and brush started growing at such a rate that the Red-Billed Choughs could no longer forage underneath the bushes as they used to, and the insects that used to breed in the goat excrement and provide these birds with extra nutrition are also no longer found here since the goats were removed. Efforts are therefore being made to revive the industry of goat herding to enable the Red-Billed Choughs to once again populate the area.

The project has enlisted the assistance of two candidates who herd the newly acquired goats, as well as monitoring the birds, natural herbs and orchids which are found in the area. To raise funds, the project has brought in a tourist angle, allowing visitors to Portugal to be goat herders for a day explore the beautiful landscape and receive a guided tour of the natural wonders and sites in the Chaos countryside. In addition, organic cheese production is a product that potential goat herders can invest in, especially as the project is incorporating tourism into their attempt to save the Red-Billed Chough population. It is hoped that the project will jumpstart the industry of goat herding and in doing so, provide the Red-Billed Chough with a habitat again. These endangered birds can be saved, with dedication from the project, assistance of the community and support from visitors and tourists. Tourists will be able to explore a new world while playing a vital role in saving the Red-Billed Chough in Portugal.

Mustached Parakeets

April 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

When looking at the Mustached Parakeet, it is evident that belonging to the same family does not mean that you share the same characteristics. The Mustached Parakeet is related to the Ringneck Parakeet, and is often referred to as a Java Mustached Parakeet. These colorful little parrots make wonderful pets and their laid back attitude assist them in being great companions. Just as any other captive birds, Mustached Parakeets have certain dietary needs to ensure their health and welfare.

This fascinating bird has coined its name from the mustache-like markings that is found on its face and once the birds have reached maturity, the males’ beaks are orange in color, while the females are recognized by their black beaks. Growing to approximately thirty three centimeters and weighing on average a hundred and thirty grams, the Mustached Parakeet is a small parrot. They have predominantly green plumage, lighter coloring on their heads with a blue tinge and indentifying salmon to pink colored plumage on their chests.

Being extremely intelligent means that the Mustached Parakeet can get bored very easily, and therefore needs an assortment of chew toys and toys that can stimulate their thought process. Spacious cages are also recommended. When compared to the Ringneck Parakeet, the Mustached Parakeet is much calmer and can speak clearer than its counterpart. They are playful and social birds, but can test their boundaries if they have not been disciplined correctly. In the wild, these birds travel in flocks and can get very lonely if they are without a companion and do not get sufficient attention from their owners. In their natural habitat, these birds will feed on a variety of foods which include seeds, fruit and berries, and it is therefore recommended that owners seek advice from their veterinarian to ensure that the correct diet is followed.

Mustached Parakeets are very popular pets but many owners do not research their choice of pet or species and can be surprised by their natural call, which is quite vocal. Before any pet owner decides to purchase a parrot or any captive bird is it essential that they know what their care involves and how to ensure the health and welfare of these magnificent birds.

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

The Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is amongst the well-known “stiff-tailed ducks”. A highly aquatic bird, the Ruddy duck spends extensive hours on the water and is adept at diving and sinking below the water surface. They are nocturnal, sleeping the day away. Ruddy ducks have even been seen being pushed along the surface of the water by wind, tucked up in little balls whilst sleeping.

Ruddy Ducks are stout little ducks with short wings and distinctive stiff tails. The face is marked by white cheek patches and a dark cap. Its bill is a blue color. Males differ from the females, having chestnut body plumage. The female is a darker brown and has a line running through her cheek patch. They measure about 35 to 43 cm with a wingspan of 56 to 62 cm. The Ruddy Duck’s tail sticks straight up whilst swimming and these remarkable birds have the ability to sink into the water without diving. These ducks are typically quiet, only making calls during courtship. During this time the male will create little popping noises.

As a New World bird, the Ruddy Duck’s range extends across North America into Mexico. They have however been introduced into the UK. Ruddy Ducks prefer open freshwater and wetlands, also making use of reservoirs. These interesting ducks will gather in flocks. They dine on tubers and seeds of aquatic vegetation as well as small fish, crustaceans, mollusks and aquatic insect larvae. Whilst foraging, the Ruddy duck will dive under the water and filter mud through its bill.

Male Ruddy Ducks perform elaborate mating displays. He will swim with his tail in a fan past the female several times. He creates a drumming sound by slapping his bill on his chest, also causing bubbles to form under his chest. The nest is built in dense vegetation out of grass and cattails which is lined with down. The female Ruddy Duck then lays between 5 and 10 eggs, incubating them for 22 to 26 days. Soon after hatching the offspring are able to swim and feed, though the female keeps a close eye on them. The young Ruddy Ducks are able to fly between 42 and 49 days of age. Migration begins in September. They will travel during the night in massive flocks. They will migrate back again between February and May.

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