This week it is a member of the pheasant family to take the spotlight
There are 5 members of the Tragopan and the Temminck’s is probbly the most commonly seen in Aviculture. They are found in the forests of South East Asia, ranging from India, through Vietnam & Tibet to Northern China. The name is a reference to a famous Dutch Naturalist. They are widespread and of least concern.
Tragopans are medium sized pheasants and they are known as ‘horny’ pheasants, in reference to the 2 small fleshy horns that are used in display. The male is a stocky red-and-orange bird with white-spotted plumage, black bill and pink legs. It has a bare blue facial skin, inflatable dark-blue bib and horns. The female is a white-spotted brown bird with blue circular eye skin and her dull colour aids with camouflage when nesting.
The diet consists of mainly plants, seeds and berries although invertebrates are taken.
Males have an elaborate display, inflating the horns and bib and posturing to the female. They often start of shyly, hiding from the hen as he inflates. I have never managed to get a good picture of this so the image below is a stock image
Once mating has occurred the hen will lay 2-4 eggs, usually off the ground and incubate the eggs for 28 days. She will then rear the young alone with the male playing no part. The chicks are mobile from the off but will be brooded by mum
At present we have 2 males and 2 females on site but they are related with it being dad and last years young (we lost the female earlier this year). They are generally placid birds and we have kept them in with other species over the years. We provide a diet of corn, seed and fruits plus other diets are often available.
Look out for them in the middle section of the park
In other news…..
King Penguin egg number 6 was laid on Tuesday by Missy and her partner Seth (their second this year) The egg has gone in the rapidly filling incubator but is very small at 240 grams
Humboldt Neville has finished moulting, leaving Luna as the last to go and she is mid way through
The Pelicans have 2 nests, but no eggs yet
We now have Sand Tables as part of the play area experience
Wildlife wise has been fairly quiet, with the Kingfisher and Grey Wagtails most active
It’s that time of year now when we are busy planning for next year. Enquiries are being made as to what birds are available and we are hoping to bring in some new birds soon, some to pair with existing inhabitants and some new species. Some of our birds may also be on the move to new homes.
We are also looking at other projects which will really improve the visiting experience so watch this space