Species Spotlight – 28th February 2014 – Western Grey Plantain Eater

Western Plantain eater 11 Small1 1 - Species Spotlight - 28th February 2014 - Western Grey Plantain Eater

This week we spotlight a bird that we have kept for over a year, but have also had some new arrivals this week
Western Grey Plantain Eater
Crinifer piscator
Western Plantain eater 11 Small 150x150 - Species Spotlight - 28th February 2014 - Western Grey Plantain Eater
A member of the Turaco family, the Western Plantain Eater is native to tropical West Africa, where they inhabit areas of open woodland.  At 50cm long they are one of the larger of the Turacos and sexes are identical.  Numbers are doing OK in the wild
Diet wise they take fruit and are partial to figs.  Seeds and vegetable matter are also taken.
Breeding wise they build a platform nest in a tree where 2 or 3 eggs are laid.  The pair will begin courtship with lots of calling and some aerial display.  Eggs are mainly white with a blue/grey tinge and eggs are incubated by both parents for around 28 days.  The chicks are fed by regurgitation and become active at 2-3 weeks of age, clambering around the nest. Fledging occurs at 4-5 weeks with the parents attending the chick for some time after.
We currently have 1.2 Plantain Eaters (1 male, 2 females) with a pair of siblings arriving yesterday from a private breeder.  The new pair will be kept in quarantine for a couple of weeks.  Our original female is kept currently with the Northern Helmeted Curassow.  She is quite aggressive and has been known to attack smaller birds such as the Golden Pheasants.  All 3 are distinguished by the coloured leg bands.
Western Plantain eater 10 Small 150x150 - Species Spotlight - 28th February 2014 - Western Grey Plantain Eater
In news this week.
Aside from the new pair of Plantain Eaters we have also had a pair of Red Rumped Parakeet arrive. The birds have come in via the RSPCA & will eventually occupy Morris the Hill Mynahs pen in the Discovery Zone.
The water levels have finally dropped and we were able to allow most of the birds back out this week. The phone lines were finally restored as of Thursday and the nature area is now passable.
As the weather has got milder, we are now starting to leave a number of birds out overnight
Spring is has sprung it seems with lots of breeding behaviour being observed around the park.
Chief among the birds displaying are the Humboldt Penguins. First of all Ron & Neville had a huge set to over one of the nest boxes in the enclosure, both came off bloodied but Neville has now laid claim to this particular box and has been seen courting Millie who herself was disposed of her box this week. Milly has had the same nest site for a couple of years now, originally with Sean and also with Chloe. However the box is now home to Hagrid & Luna. The last site available at present was, as of yesterday, attracting the attention of Arthur & Molly. All exciting stuff
King Penguins Lily & Junior have been displaying as have our pair of White Storks
Both the Pelicans & Caracaras continue to gather twigs
The Greater Flamingos have also been displaying in the sunshine
Our group of Avocets are also vocalising as are the Southern Lapwing and Blacksmith Plover
The Moluccan Cockatoos were seen attempting to mate
Morris, the Hill Mynah, has been moved offshow whilst building work has started in the Discovery Zone. We are putting wooden flooring down and building a hatchery area
We have also had a swap around with some of the birds with the Grey Treepies swapping aviaries with the Black Throated Laughing Thrush & Green Imperial Pigeon. Last years 3 Tragopan juveniles have been moved to the Crowned Hornbill aviary, allowing dad to be moved from off show back with mum.
The 6 White Faced Whistling Duck opposite the café have joined the pair in the Ibis aviary and we have moved one of the Burrowing Owl males into the aviary, with the female to be introduced soon.
We have also introduced the female Blue Pie to a different male this week, with the male shut in so he can see the female but not hassle her while she settles in
The Rhea juvenile has had to have a clean as it was caked in mud from all the flooding and had some matted feathers.
Work has begun on the gift shop roof repairs
Wildlife wise Blue Tits are investigating a box on the Flamingo shed and Siskin was reported by one of our regular visitors. Buzzard numbers have soared (see what I did there) up to 5 this week.
Thanks for reading and see you next week

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