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THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE

BEING THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY

Edited by

J. J. YE ALL AND

Vol. 8 1

January 1975 to December 1975

London

FROWDE & CO. (PRINTERS) LTD.

1975

Ill

\

CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE . . i

CONTENTS . iii

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS . v

LIST OF PLATES ... vii

THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY— OFFICERS AND COUNCIL 1975 viii

INDEX

241

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

BARBER, M. Breeding the White-spotted Bluethroat Luscinia svecica cyane- cula 19 1.

BARNICOAT, F. C. Pekin Robin x Blue-winged Siva hybrids 130.

Breeding the Black-headed Canary Serinus alario 15 1.

An aviary-bred strain of the Green Avadavat Amandava formosa 188. BERTAGNOLIO, PAOLA. Notes on the Red-capped Parrot Pionopsitta pileata H7-

BROWN, PETER. Register of birds bred in Britain during 1974, 43. CORNHILL, R. E. A breeding attempt by a pair of Sparrow Hawks Accipiter nisus 85.

DELACOUR, J. Notes from Cleres and from Brazil 35.

Two collections of birds in Arizona 73.

ELGAR, R. J. The Ecuadorian Piedtail Hummingbird Phlogophilus hemileu- curus 93.

ELLIS, MALCOLM. The Spotted Morning Warbler Cichladusa guttata 24. ENGLAND, M. D. Breeding the Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcieri 121. FRANKLYN, RAYMOND. Breeding the Black-headed Sibia Heterophasia capistrata 6.

GRAD WELL, G. D. Breeding the Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis 141.

HAYNES, MARY H. News and Views 53, 114, 231.

HODGES, Prof. J. R. The blue mutation of the Splendid Grass Parrakeet N eophema splendida 61.

HOLYOAK, D. T. A hand-list of the bird species of the world and of their English names: Order Anseriformes 221.

INGELS, Dr. JOHAN. Rare tanagers imported into Belgium and the Nether¬ lands during 1974, 98.

JEGGO, DAVID. Breeding the Palawan Peacock Pheasant at Jersey Zoological Park 8.

KILHAM, Dr. LAWRENCE. Breeding of Red-breasted Nuthatches in cap¬ tivity 144.

KLOS, Prof. Dr. HEINZ-GEORG. News from Berlin Zoo 41, 170, 229. KYME, RAY. Breeding the Iris Lorikeet Psitteuteles iris 22.

LAMBERT, R. UNWIN. The Bobwhite Quail: some aspects of behaviour 163. LUBBOCK, M. R. White-winged Wood Ducks at Slimbridge 153.

MEADEN, FRANK. The Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus 1.

MOBBS, A. J. The Amethyst Woodstar Hummingbird with observations on the eclipse plumage 13.

Notes on the display of the Booted Racquet-tail Hummingbird 155. MULLER, KERRY A. Experiences with fairy wrens 1 8 1 .

MURRAY, HERBERT. My birds in 1974, 63.

N AETHER, Prof. CARL. The Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata 81.

The White-collared Pigeon Columba albitorques 228.

PINKOWSKI, Dr. BENEDICT C. Behaviour and breeding of the Mountain Bluebird in captivity 15.

POLEY, Dr. DIETER. Notes on some nectar-feeding birds 104.

RESTALL, ROBIN L. Spanish Notes 28, 107, 159, 21 1.

RISDON, D. H. S. The Tropical Bird Gardens 1974, 70.

ROLES, D. GRENVILLE. Breeding the Pink-crested Touraco at Jersey Zoo¬ logical Park 4.

Breeding the Red-backed Mousebird at Jersey Zoological Park 79. SAYERS, BERNARD C. The subfamily Loriinae 26.

SCHERZINGER, Dr. WOLFGANG. Breeding European owls 70.

SCHULTE, E. G. B. Breeding Gofhn’s Cockatoo Cacatua goffini 155.

SMALL, RALPH C. Nesting and hand-raising of the Hyacinthine Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus 90.

SMITH, GEORGE A. Notes on some species of parrot in captivity 200. STALHEIM, Dr. P. SCOTT. Breeding and behaviour of captive Yellow Rails Coturnicops noveboracensis 133.

VI

TAYLOR, J. A. The Northern Helmeted Gurassow Pauxi pauxi 195. VARGHA, BELA. Bird nutrition: the need for exchange of information 95. WARD, BRYAN S. Breeding the Rufous-chinned Laughing Thrush at Winged World 68.

WENNER, MARIE-LOUISE. Notes from the Zoological Gardens, Naples 168 YATES, EILEEN. Notes on a White-eared Barbet 197.

CORRESPONDENCE

The British Aviculturists’ Club, A. A. PRESTWICH, 55; MARY H. HAYNES, 239. Introduced lovebirds in Mombasa, J. C. BARLASS, 55. Lack of protein as a possible cause of feather plucking in cockatoos, REX A. HARPER, 56. The trade in rare birds, C. B. FRITH, 57. The late K. A. Norris, DERRICK ENGLAND, 58. Identification of subspecies in Trichoglos- sus haematodus, D. T. HOLYOAK, 59. Birds introduced into East Africa, MALCOLM ELLIS, 1 15. Aviculture’s impact on some rare Australian parrots, ALASTAIR MORRISON, 116. Subspecies and their relevance to aviculture, BERNARD C. SAYERS, 1 17 ; D. T. HOLYOAK, 175. Breeding terms, J. C. BARLASS, 1 19; JOHN WALTON, 178; N. D. COOPER, 179. Black aphides as food for birds, J. J. YEALLAND, 1 19 ; A. P. G. MICHELMORE, 180. Hatching waterfowl eggs by incubator, Maj. A. W. E. FLETCHER, 178; GEO. A. SMITH, 235. Longevity of a Barbary Dove, J. D. KEELING, 180. Lovebirds in East Africa, J. C. BARLASS, 235. The trade in wild birds, Dr. ALAN R. LONGHURST, 236. The smuggling of rare Australian parrots, F. C. BARNICOAT, 237. Notes on Trichoglossus haematodus, Amazona and Forpus species, GEO. A. SMITH, 237. Rothschild’s Parrakeet, SHARAD R. SANE, 238.

* * *

Vll

LIST OF PLATES

*Reed Warbler Pink-crested Touraco Pink-crested Touraco (chick)

Palawan Peacock Pheasant (courtship display) . Amethyst Woodstar Hummingbird Mountain Bluebird Iris Lorikeets

Spotted Morning Warbler *Blue mutation of the Splendid Grass Parrakeet . Tengmalm’s Owls (chicks)

Band-tailed Pigeon Band-tailed Pigeon (nestling)

Hyacinthine Macaw (chick)

Ecuadorian Piedtail Hummingbird *Red-headed Barbets Red-headed Barbet (fledgling)

White-winged Wood Ducklings ...

Goffin’s Cockatoos ...

Booted Racquet-tail Hummingbird (male) Booted Racquet-tail Hummingbird (female) Chilean Flamingos ...

Bald Eagle ...

Sacred Ibises ^Splendid Fairy Wrens Northern Helmeted Curassow (chick) White-eared Barbet

facing page i

4

5

io

14

15

24

25 6 1 70

82

83

92

93

121

126

154

155

158

159

171

174

175 181

196

197

* Denotes a coloured plate.

VI 11

THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY

FOR THE STUDY OF BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIRDS IN FREEDOM AND CAPTIVITY

OFFICERS AND COUNCIL 1975

PRESIDENT Dr. J. Delacour

VICE-PRESIDENTS

Miss P. Barclay-Smith G. S. Mottershead

Dr. W. G. Conway A. A. Prestwich (Past President)

J. O. D’eath D. H. S. Risdon

HON. EDITOR J. J. Yealland

HON. SECRETARY— TREASURER H. J. Horswell

HON. ASSISTANT SECRETARY Mrs. Mary Haynes

MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

M. D. England (Chairman)

P. B. Brown

Mrs. R. Grantham

Dr. C. J. O. Harrison

Prof. J. R. Hodges

Dr. Janet Kear

F. Meaden

H. Murray P. J. S. Olney R. C. J. Sawyer B. C. Sayers N. R. Steel W. H. Timmis B. S. Ward

AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE /

VOLUME SB

JAN UARY— MARCH

1975

CONTENTS

The Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (with coloured plate),

by FRANK MEADEN . i

Breeding the Pink-crested Touraco at Jersey Zoological Park,

by D. GRENVILLE ROLES . 4

Breeding the Black-headed Sibia Heterophasia capistrata

by RAYMOND FRANKLIN . 6

Breeding the Palawan Peacock Pheasant at Jersey Zoological Park,

by DAVID JEGGO . 8

The Amethyst Woodstar Hummingbird with observations on the eclipse plumage, by A. J. MOBBS . 13

Behaviour and breeding of the Mountain Bluebird in captivity,

by BENEDICT C. PINKOWSKI . 15

Breeding the Iris Lorikeet Psitteuteles iris by RAY KYME . 22

The Spotted Morning Warbler Cichladusa guttata, by MALCOLM ELLIS 24

The subfamily Loriinae 3, by BERNARD C. SAYERS . 26

Spanish notes 3, by ROBIN L. RESTALL . 28

Notes from Cleres and from Brazil, by J. DELACOUR . 35

The Tropical Bird Gardens, 1974, by D. H. S. RISDON . 38

News from the Berlin Zoo (July-December 1974),

by HEINZ-GEORG KLOS . 41

Register of birds bred in Britain during 1974 . 43

News and Views . 53

Review . 54

Correspondence . 55

Report of Council meetings-— 1974 . 60

THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY

Founded 1894

Membership Subscription is £2.50 (U.S.A., $7.00) per annum, due on 1st January each year, and payable in advance. Subscriptions, Changes of Address, Names of Candidates for Membership, etc., should be sent to the Hon. Secretary.

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer: Harry J. Horswell, 20 Bourdon Street, London WiX 9HX

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Avicultural Magazine

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY

Vol. 81. No. i. All rights reserved. JANUARY -MARCH 1975

THE REED WARBLER

Acrocephalus scirpaceus

By Frank Meaden (Cheshunt, Herts.)

It was in 1948 that we had four young Reed Warblers brought to us by an over-enthusiastic but well meaning angler who had found them after cutting down reeds in preparation for his future fishing site : they were merely skin and dark down, about four days old. However, using a well insulated box we were able to keep them sufficiently warm during the following nights to allow their continued growth with no noticeable ill-effects from their new surroundings or changed diet; a cardboard carton fully lined with cuttings from polystyrene ceiling tiles is ideal for such purposes in an emergency of this kind. They were kept in this warm box until they reached the stage of pecking any edible item from the tweezers we used for feeding them during this period; the tissue paper they were huddled in was changed two or three times daily to avoid soiling their feet or growing plumage. Whilst their droppings are enclosed in a sac they are so easily removed from the rearing box, that, should they be collected immediately after feeding, this being the time they are normally passed, such frequent changing of tissues becomes unnecessary. Their diet consisted of mealworms, chrysalids, flies, maggots, etc., with intermediate feeds of Avivite moistened with milk and to which was then added finely chopped watercress, comfrey, dandelion or any brassica, grated cheese, steamed and minced ox heart and liver or steamed freshwater fish, the latter as and when brought to me by the guilty angler as his form of atonement. The maggots and mealworms were well powdered with calcium lactate and a high vitamin content animal food supplement, after a few drops of a liquid multi-vitamin product had been added to them, so forming a thin film over their entire surface; if caught unprepared with no calcium lactate, then finely crushed cuttlefish will prove adequate.

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus By Bryan Reed

Plate donated by Palaquin Fine Arts London

2

FRANK MEADEN - THE REED WARBLER

No signs of rickets ever seem to occur if these precautions are taken and the continued growth, on this occasion, of bone structure, flesh and plumage gave every reason to believe the birds were progressing quite normally. As was to be expected, the young birds grew up remarkably tame, even climbing one’s clothes in Tree Creeper fashion at the wean¬ ing stage; they all took to the softfood mixture (now minus the milk) quite readily, in fact seemingly preferring this to gentles, although their taste for flies, chrysalids and mealworms never lessened. With the late autumn the whiter throats and subdued song practice of two intimated that we might have two pairs; one pair was given the freedom of a sheltered outdoor aviary for the wdnter and the other housed with a pair of Black Redstarts which, although fed and housed mainly in a large indoor flight, did have access to an outside flight throughout the winter. Despite an electric lighting system arranged in the outdoor enclosure to provide extra light for feeding time, extended to enable feeding between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the short winter days, plus the fact that this pair of birds roosted within inches of the bulb and its warmth, the birds died the following February /March within a day or so of each other : the remaining pair was, in the following April, given an outdoor enclosure which covered half a small goldfish pond and approximately a square yard of reeds. In early May both birds were observed carrying small strips of dead reeds ; however, instead of taking this material to the reed bed, the female proceeded to build the normal nest but in a clump of fir and heather between four and five feet from the ground. It was solely the hen which built while the male seemed to sing from morn till night. The enclosure itself measured about eight feet square by six feet high, two thirds of the area being water and bog; the aviary had been built around an old apple tree which grew at the side of the garden pool and almost the only solid ground was at the base of this tree, the remaining soil being peat overflowed copiously with the excess water from the pool. Perhaps due to my own inquisitive¬ ness or maybe a visiting field mouse, no eggs were laid in this first nest and it was only when I failed to see the hen one day that I searched and found her incubating three green/blue and heavily blotched eggs that I realised a further nest had been built, this time almost six feet from the ground in dead twigs from the previous year and barely hidden by the leaves of a low apple branch only just inside the aviary I wire and in such a manner that, once aware of its presence, we could peep into it from outside the enclosure. Not knowing the exact dates \ the eggs were laid I can give no definite hatching time but it seemed extremely short, no more than twelve days and possibly a little less; my notes show that I found three eggs on the 2nd June, 1949, and two young were first seen in the nest on the 12th of that month with a | further one appearing the following day; another egg was eventually j discovered weeks later embedded in the base of the nest. Apart from 1

FRANK MEADEN - THE REED WARBLER

3

the natural insect life of the pond and surrounding wet peat, we provided the diet previously described with extra mealworms, these being selected as small as possible for the first week, from our own insectary, plus two or three handfuls daily of old bees’ comb, alive with wax moth larvae; this has always proved most popular with my stock. The record card for this breeding is rather smudged and blurred, hence the date for nestlings emerging is indistinct, and it appears to be June 24th, but could be the 27th; however, I well recall being amazed at that time just how small and mouse-like they seemed in their climb¬ ing, also at their short stay in the nest. Having proved so useful on numerous occasions, I feel that mention should be made here of the importance of keeping record cards, so much data regarding nesting materials, dates, food taken, courtship displays, etc., can be thus referred to in later years. These three youngsters, regardless of their earlier minute appearance, grew to be exactly like carbon copies of the parent birds; eventually I found the three to be one male and two females.

My only further comments on this bird are that despite the somewhat sombre plumage, it is well worth keeping and studying at close quarters; the song so loud and boisterous when delivered throughout the breeding season can, when one’s eyes are closed, conjure up the beauty of old waterside haunts of years gone by for those of us who are now forced to live in towns. The diet can be coarser than that which I have used, but caring for a number of more delicate species, I do tend to use a standard base food and endeavour to create variety in the food intake by additives of proven value to humans and by live insects. All the five birds were liberated during May 1950 near a small backwater adjoining a local watercress bed and without being over- sentimental I would venture to comment that I received great satisfac¬ tion from frequent visits to this site just to hear the song continued in the wild. Whether from our stock we will never know, but the Reed Warbler certainly returned there each spring for at least another four years whilst I lived in that district, breeding successfully on each occasion, but only one nest as compared to the two we recorded whilst under controlled conditions. Today I have two pairs of the Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus which I hope may breed in the future. Their song is very similar to the smaller birds’ but with the volume as powerful as that of a Song Thrush. Perhaps mention also ought to be made of the nest materials used by the birds which bred in J949i when inspected at the end of the season, the nests were found to be constructed of thin pieces of reed, grasses, fine roots, moss, a few feathers and a great deal of dog hair; it is reasonable to imagine the last as not being a normal material to these birds, but having accumu¬ lated much of this from our dogs’ brushings we offered it, as is our normal habit each year, to most of our aviary inmates.

4

D. GRENVILLE ROLES - THE PINK-CRESTED TOURAGO

BREEDING THE PINK-CRESTED TOURAGO AT JERSEY ZOOLOGICAL PARK

By D. Grenville Roles (Deputy Curator of Birds)

One of the most beautiful species of the whole family, the Pink- crested Touraco Tauraco erythrolophus is found in suitable localities throughout Zaire and Angola. Our specimens came from the vicinity of Luanda in Angola, arriving in May 1971.

Lovely birds about the size of a pigeon with long, fan-shaped tails, they possess the curious hairy plumage so typical of the family. The face is white, neck and breast a shade of light green, belly and vent sooty black. The mantle and wing-coverts are iridescent emerald, back and rump black, shot with emerald, and the tail is violet. Remiges are crimson, while the rounded crest is red with a white tip at the apex. The large brown eyes are surrounded by a thin red wattle, accentuated by short narrow black stripes both above and below. The bill is bright yellow, greenish basally, and the legs are black.

After initial quarantining the birds were rung and housed in a large aviary 12 ft. x 24 ft. x 7 ft., well planted and grassed with an open shelter at the rear (which they shared with a pair of Satyr Tragopans).

The birds settled in very well, coming through their first winter, fortunately a very mild one, without experiencing any difficulty.

The following season, 1972, came and went without any noticeable change in the birds’ behaviour being noted until January 1973, when two of them appeared to be pairing up. Aggressive behaviour by these birds was also seen to develop towards the others until they were split in June, when both pairs were transferred to a new range of aviaries.

Their new aviaries had the advantage of enclosed shelters at the rear, into which chicks could be shut for safety until they were reason¬ ably independent. Each of the aviaries was particularly well planted and housed pairs of Palawan Peacock Pheasants. Flights were 12 ft. x 20 ft. x 7 ft., with the 4 ft. wide shed running the width of the aviary. The sheds were built on a brick base and had concrete floors. The birds were fed and watered in the shed which also contained nesting plat¬ forms and boxes for both touracos and pheasants.

The birds behaved perfectly, with courtship feeding seen to take place a number of times (though mating was never observed) and soon they laid their first egg, on the 7th July, and a second on the 9th. These were incubated by both birds but after a month were deserted and found to be infertile. A second clutch of four eggs was started on the 1 8th August, but the clutch size and its again proving infertile led me to believe that the pair were two hens. Now, however, the second pair looked as if they were going to, do something ”, with much twig carrying and aggressive behaviour to a neighbouring pair of Schalow’s

Pink-crested Touraco Tauraco erylhrolophus.

Phillip F. Coffey

mm

i

Pink-crested Touraeo chick.

D. GRENVILLE ROLES - THE PINK-CRESTED TOURAGO

5

Touracos, so Pair i were kept together and not tried with different mates.

A third infertile clutch was produced by the first pair in late September, the second pair producing nothing at all. The pairs were kept as they were until the nth May, 1974, when, after a further infertile clutch from the first pair and no breeding activity from the second, the pairs were split.

The move proved successful with the resident hen /new cock pair, which produced the first egg of a fertile clutch of two eggs on the 25th May only a fortnight after they had been introduced.

Remarkably, absolutely no aggressive behaviour was shown by either of the resident birds to their new mates, much to our relief.

The incubation period lasted for 23 days from the laying of the first egg, when on the 17th June both eggs were found to have hatched. The brooding hen sat very tightly on both eggs and chicks, refusing to leave when the shed was entered for servicing unlike her mate who fled whenever the door was opened. This hen would even allow her eggs to be inspected without fleeing— pecking the intruding hand very hard while she spread and raised her wings in the typical threat posture. It was only by a change in the female’s brooding posture sitting high on the nest instead of squatting that we had any indication that the chicks had hatched- which we quickly confirmed.

The chicks were pink-fleshed and covered in thick black down. Their legs were pinkish-grey and the bill (apart from its black tip) and facial skin were white. Mouth lining was bright pink and tiny white claws were visible on each alula.

The chicks developed at the usual rate, by comparison with the other species we have bred (Roles, 1973) and at 18 days were well covered with thick black down. Both tail and wing quills were starting to erupt and both legs and bill had a pinkish hue.

At 23 days the crimson of the remiges was apparent, and pin feathers were evident on the neck and breast.

At 25 days both chicks left the nest never to return. They were not seen to be brooded any further by either parent, but solicited feeding every time a parent approached.

When 45 days old the chicks were still very dark with a few green feathers opening on the neck and breast. The wings were showing darker emerald than the adults with a much reduced area of crimson. The tail was violet and the first red, white-tipped crest feathers were opening. A small white patch also appeared over the ear-coverts.

The chicks were separated from their parents at 79 days when still slightly smaller than the adults; they possessed comparatively greyish faces, rather duller bills, and smaller crimson areas in their wings, but otherwise were almost identical.

A second clutch of two eggs was started on the 17th August. Both

6

RAYMOND FRANKLIN - THE BLACK-HEADED SIBIA

eggs were fertile and hatched, but one chick died on 30th August, with fatty degeneration of the liver being found on examination.

While the birds had chicks in the nest, an additional 8 a.m. feed was provided consisting of soaked dried fruit, finely chopped lettuce, finely chopped banana and tomato, the whole covered with a liberal sprinkling of Vionate, a multivitamin supplement.

The “main course” feed, provided around 1 1. 30-1 2.00 a.m., con¬ tained quantities of all fruits available and our bread /milk /nectar mixture and minced boiled egg.

The birds during the year 1974 reared to independence three fine strong young birds, which we believe to be a first successful breeding in the U.K.

REFERENCE

Roles, D. Grenville, 1973. Breeding Schalow’s Touracos at the Jersey Wild¬ life Preservation Trust. A vie. Mag. 79, p. 75.

As described, the Pink-crested Touraco Tauraco erythrolophus has been bred at the Jersey Zoological Park and this is believed to be a first success. Anyone knowing of a previous breeding of this species in Great Britain or Northern Ireland is requested to inform the Secretary or Editor.

* 45-

BREEDING THE BLACK-HEADED SIBIA

Heterophasia capistrata

By Raymond Franklin (Chesham, Buckinghamshire)

In vol. 79 No. 4 Avicultural Magazine I described the nesting of the Black-headed Sibia with the fledged young dying presumably of cold. This season (1974) I have had better results from the same parents, the original pair purchased in February 1971. In March 1973 they were put into an outside flight 4 x 2 x 2m. which is thickly planted with two clumps of bamboo and honeysuckle growing up the wire. No attempt was made at nesting at all during 1973 so they were once again brought into my bird room in October for the winter. As the winter turned out to be fairly mild I could probably have left them out all winter, but with small foreign soft-bills I consider it best if they are kept inside during the worst months. In April this year I again put them into the open flight and as nothing happened during the early summer, I thought it would be another fruitless year, but to my sur¬ prise on the 8th July I saw the cock displaying with a strand of fibre in his beak the same fibre from the Chusan palm Trachycarpus fortunei which I usually supply for nesting material. Nest construction

RAYMOND FRANKLIN— -THE BLACK-HEADED SIBIA

7

took about three days of the second week of July, both birds doing the work in a clump of bamboo about 2 ft. above the ground. On the 1 st August I photographed the two eggs which in appearance are rather like a Greenfinch’s egg, but a trifle larger. Both parents took turns to sit and two young were hatched on the 1 6th August. Providing the essential live food was not such a problem as I had expected mainly because it has been a good year for wasps. In the period from 1 6th August to about the end of September they must have consumed several thousand wasps which are attracted to the aviary by a dish of jam and honey etc. It is interesting to note that the few bees that came were not touched in any way. Another interesting way in which wasps were encouraged was that under the bamboo leaves are hundreds of tiny green aphids which exude a sticky substance which attracts flies which in their turn attract wasps so is altogether a quite convenient food chain. Incidentally the adults always remove the sting from the wasp before feeding it to the young. On the 31st August the babies came out of the nest; the following week the weather was appalling with heavy rain and terrific winds, but I was pleased to see the young birds huddled together at night under a piece of glass placed over the roof to keep off the rain. On the 18th September the young were seen to feed on a few pieces of cut up grape, but the adults were very good and continued to supply live food. On the 30th September the babies were still begging to be fed flapping the wings after the manner of young Blackbirds. I removed them from the parents on the 1st October as the father was beginning to get aggressive. I would guess that the young are a true pair; they roost close together at night and this has probably been the reason they survived this late part of the season. With regard to appearance and colour they are exactly like the adults with perhaps a little lighter brown across the back.

8

DAVID JEGGO - THE PALAWAN PEACOCK PHEASANT

BREEDING THE PALAWAN PEACOCK PHEASANT AT JERSEY ZOOLOGICAL PARK

By David Jeggo (Jersey, Channel Islands)

The Palawan Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron emphanum is endemic to the island of Palawan in the Philippines and is sparsely distributed over the island. Although as yet no detailed study has been carried out on its status in the wild, this species is considered to be rare and is listed in the i.u.c.n. red data book as endangered.

Inhabiting the damp tropical forest at moderate altitudes, the Palawan Peacock Pheasant is under increasing pressure, due to the continuing clearance of its habitat. The island is some 300 miles in length and up to twenty or so miles wide and the exact range of habitat favourable to this species is not known. A number of specimens exist, in collections in America and Europe, but in most cases they are isolated pairs or single birds. However, Dr. K. G. Searle maintains a number in the aviaries of the Botanic Garden, Hong Kong, where many young have been bred, and as he wished to establish another nucleus he presented six pairs to the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. The first birds, an unrelated pair, arrived on 1st September, 1972, followed by three immature pairs on the 28th December, 1972, and a further two pairs on 5th April, 1974.

Accommodation

While new accommodation was being constructed three pairs were housed in existing aviaries which measure 6.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 m. high, with shelters of 1.8 x 2 x 1.75 m. high. These aviaries were planted with a variety of shrubs with grassed areas, the remainder being sanded. Between each was a division of opaque rigid perspex to a height of 1 m. to prevent visual contact, thereby eliminating fighting between different males. These aviaries were unheated but the birds were confined at night during the winter months, to the inside areas, which had concrete floors to exclude rodent predators, a layer of sand being spread over the floor. The remaining birds were housed in the tropical bird room in a cage measuring 5.6 x 2.2 x 2 m. high which was heated at 20-22° C. and kept at a fairly high relative humidity.

In the spring of 1973 the Howard Aviaries (presented to the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust by two members, Mr. and Mrs. Howard) were constructed. These six aviaries were designed to house one pair of Palawan Peacock Pheasants each in association with one pair of touracos Musophagidae of various species, to inhabit the upper level. Each aviary consists of an outside area measuring 6x4x2m. high with an unheated shelter 4 x 1.2 x 2 m. high, to which the birds can be confined during winter nights. The outside areas are landscaped with boulders of Jersey granite and planted with a wide variety of

DAVID JEGGO - THE PALAWAN PEACOCK PHEASANT

9

shrubs, grasses and creepers, thus making an attractive setting and providing cover where the birds have a degree of privacy and open lawn areas where they can be easily viewed.

Diet

Up to December 1973, poultry layers’ pellets were fed, substituted by pheasant breeder pellets in the breeding season. Turkey breeder pellets are now fed throughout the year and mixed seed is also avail¬ able. Every six months in April and October the birds are wormed with I.C.I. Game Bird wormer, given in the drinking water.

Description

The Palawan is perhaps the most beautiful species of the genus Polyplectron and the male is a fine looking bird; the black of the neck extends down throughout the underparts, the mantle is an iridescent blue /green, many of these feathers being variously edged and patterned with black. The primaries and secondaries are a dark brown/black. The back and rump are a dark grey-brown speckled with rows of tiny pale golden blotches producing a banded effect. The broad moderately long tail is comprised of 22-24 rectrices and both rectrices and long upper tail-coverts decreasing in length from the centre outwards. The rectrices and coverts are a dark grey /brown speckled with tiny pale cream blotches, these forming a distinct pale narrow band at the tip of each feather, then leaving a clear dark band, which gives way to random speckling over the rest of the feather. On either side of the rachis towards the distal end of each of these feathers is a metallic ovate turquoise eye with a surround of black, then cream. Passing out¬ wards over the tail feathers the ocelli on the inner web gradually degenerate. The whole structure gives the effect of a beautiful striking eyed fan when spread in display. The colour of the head is black shot with a blue/green sheen, apart from a white lanceolate cheek patch and in some specimens also a white superciliary stripe which can join at the nuchal area (such specimens are sometimes referred to as Napoleon’s Peacock Pheasant). This variation seems to occur at random and apparently is not regional; all the adult males at Jersey exhibit the stripe. A thin elongated wedge-shaped black/blue crest lies raised at a slight angle from the head, curved up a little towards the rear. The iris is dark brown with a narrow surround of red skin on the eyelids. Bill and legs are black ; the latter possess 2-3 small sharp spurs.

The female is a smaller (400 mm. against 500 mm. for the male, the tail accounting for about 80 mm. of this difference) and drabber bird, having a general body colour of dull bronzy brown. The wings have some dark markings and on the tail there are traces of ocelli, the cheeks and superciliary area are pale grey merging into brown and in most specimens a small depressed dark crest is present. Immature birds closely resemble the female, males not obtaining their adult plumage until the second year and are often not in full colour until the third

10

DAVID JEGGO - THE PALAWAN PEACOCK PHEASANT

year, although they can usually be distinguished by their greater size and slight difference of marking at a few months.

The moult into adult plumage happens gradually during the second year, the tail and cheek patches being usually the first to appear along with occasional black feather on the breast and blue in the mantle. Immature birds at Jersey exhibit fully developed adult tails and white cheek patches with crest, the rest of the body still having the immature coloration.

The head and mantle of the chick are a gingery brown with a dark brown stripe extending down from the crown to the nuchal area where it broadens out. The under parts are the same gingery brown, shading to a much paler colour on the belly. Down the back and rump is a broad stripe of deep rich burnt umber, bordered on either side by a thin stripe of pale yellow ochre which is separated from the pale belly colour by a narrow stripe of dark brown. The bill is deep chestnut brown in colour, paler at the tip and has an area of dark grey around the cere; the legs are dull pink.

Breeding

The Palawan Peacock Pheasant is strictly monogamous and there¬ fore only one breeding pair is housed in each aviary.

A lateral courtship display has often been observed in adult and immature males and on occasions in females, gaining frequency through the new year to become most intense at the end of March and beginning of April. The male calls up the female to feed then ruffs and fans his plumage, tilting the colourful and beautifully patterned dorsal surface towards her as he circles around her (see illustration).

Potential breeders are provided with boxes measuring 44 x 30 x 22 cm. deep completely open at the top and half filled with hay, fixed at height of 1.5 m. to serve as elevated nest sites. These are used, but there seems to be little preference, a scrape in the ground among cover being equally favoured.

Laying at Jersey commences at the end of March, one or two eggs forming the normal clutch. They are white in colour and the average size from a sample of ten eggs was 49 x 36.5 mm. which is a little larger than that quoted by Delacour (45 x 36 mm.). The incubation period of 18 days is constant. The eggs are collected as soon as found and set under a broody bantam when the clutch is complete in a maximum of three days.

The smallest and steadiest broody bantams available are used because of the small clutch size and the eggs and chicks so small and delicate. From the first small chip in the shell to complete hatching has been observed to take only two hours. When completely dry and walking at about 24 to 36 hours old, chicks and hen are transferred inside to a box. These box