This week we saw more new arrivals into the park, one of them is subject of this weeks spotlight
Endemic to the rainforests of Vietnam, the Edward’s Pheasant is one of the rarest birds we keep here at Birdland. They are critically endangered and had been thought to be extinct for a while. Numbers of only 50-249 were thought to be present in the wild as of 2010. Fortunately, they are doing quite well in captivity and are part of a European Endangered species Program (EEP)
They are a small pheasant, with males a metallic blue with small white crest/crown. They have red legs and face wattle and unusually for a pheasant, short tail. Hens are brown, with no crest and paler face.
Diet wise they are a typical pheasant, taking seeds, berries, buds and leaves as well as insects
4-7 eggs are laid in a scrape on the floor, usually under some cover. Incubation is done solely by the hen and lasts for around 24 days. The chicks hatch active and are mobile and feeding pretty quickly, with mum keeping a close eye. In the past we have left males in with the chicks and they have protected the young (usually we remove the male pheasants as they want to mate again and will ester the hen). The chicks grow quickly and can be sexed at around 3 months, when young males start to develop blue plummage
We have held a single male for quite some time now but Thursday saw the arrival of a young female from ZSL London. As always she will quarantine for a while before joining the male. We have successfully bred this species in the past and hope to bred this rare pheasant again next year.
Also arriving this week were a pair of Black Swan, a pair of Ross’ Goose and 7 White Faced Whistling Duck from WWT Martin Mere. It’s good to go back into both the Ross’ and Blacks having lost our last birds earlier this year
The drop in temperature has meant a few birds have been moved around ready for the winter, with Blacksmith Plovers and Western Grey Plantain Eaters changing locations
Work has started on improving our flood defences, with bunds being built in the Pelican and Greater Flamingos to keep water in the river and not overflowing into the desert house and cassowary areas
The Starling roost is getting bigger as is the Black Headed Gull population, they are getting up to nuisance numbers now at the Penguin feed
Thanks as always for reading