14th of February 2014 – Species Spotlight Black Breasted Thrush

Happy valentines day all

This weeks species spotlight gives me the chance to swat up on the species as they are new to Birdland this week

 

Black Breasted Thrush

Turdus dissimilis

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The Black Breasted Thrush looks very similar to our own Blackbird and indeed are of the same family (which also includes Redwing, Song Thrush & Fieldfare, but a differnt group to the Orange Headed Ground Thrush that we also keep).  They are native to Southern Asia including China, India & Bangladesh and tend to frequent higher areas of tropical forest, but have been seen in areas of scrub and mangrove.  The wild population is in slow decline and at present they are believed to be low risk.

As with the Blackbird, Black Breasted Thrushare always active, foraging for food on the ground, overturning leaves looking for insects and molluscs.  They are also keen on berries & are regularly seen at fruiting trees

The sexes are easily distinguished by the males prominent black head and breast, the hens being more of a grey brown in colour.  It is believed that males use the orange in the lower breast to impress females.

Nests are sturdy cup shaped constructions, usually in tree forks but sometimes on the ground and occasionally in holes in banks. It is constructed with plant fibre and moss.  The female produces 3-4 pale green, spotted eggs and incubation lasts for about a fortnight.  There is little information on fledging time for the young but again, it is probably around the 14 day mark.

 

Our pair of Black Breasted Thrush arrived from Paignton Zoo on Tuesday.  They are currently being kept seperately in quarantine as they have not been mixed previously.  Once quarantine and medication is complete we have several potential aviaries for them to go in and they will be gradually introduced. Both birds are a year old.

 

 

The big news this week has been the weather yet again.  The river level has risen constantly over the past fortnight and we are again flooded in several areas of the park.  The middle section is underwater with the male Tragopan and the Burrowing Owls being evacuated.  The parrot sepcies have been left as they can climb and get off the ground easily.  Water is also lying by the cassowaries, throughout the Nature Area and in the play area.

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We have now had water across the play area for a good month and on Wednesday this created a major problem when not one but two of our large poplar trees uprooted.  Simon was incredibly lucky as he heard the first one starting to go and evacuated the office sharply.  The second tree followed the same path.  Everyone is safe and well, we’d thankfully put Diamond the Macaw away early which was a good job as you can see by the pictures.

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We now have a major clear up, we were closed Thursday and today as a crane is brought in to lift the trees out.  we are watching the forecast closely as more rain is expected over the next few days.  We also had a tree come down in our staff car park, again no damage.  Penguin webcam is also offline due to storm damage

 

Bird wise other new arrivals from Paignton on Tuesday included an unsexed pair of Pied Imperial Pigeon, a male Madagascar Teal & male Orange Headed Ground Thrush.

The Bartlett’s Dove egg from a couple of weeks ago was found broken but they are sitting again

We have moved our older pair of Striated Caracara from offshow to the aviary next to the Caribbean Flamingos and they have been checking ot nest sites already

Our Red Collared Dove have an egg

King Penguin Ollie is now mid moult

 

This coming week we are celebrating disgusting birds during half term.  We will have a quiz trail around the park with the chance to win a family ticket

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