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Birds

African Pygmy Goose (Nettapus auritus)

African Pygmy Goose
Judith Wolfe

    Male African Pygmy Goose

Zoo collection includes: One male.

Found in the wild: These aquatic birds are actually ducks, not geese. They primarily live in the swamps, marshes, and ponds of tropical Africa and the island of Madagascar.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: They live in the Tropical Rain Forest. You will find these geese in the stream when you first enter the Tropic building, just inside the door. Look down.

Description: Length: Up to 11-12 inches. Weight: Male 285g, Female 260g. As tends to be the case with birds, the male is larger than the female and is more colorful. He has green ear patches and metallic green on his back. His head is a colorful turquoise and white. The female is much darker- usually a brown or gray.

What do they eat: They feed on aquatic plants and aquatic insects and their larvae. At the CPZ, these birds are fed avian pellets, seeds, and vitamin E.

Life span: 10-15 years in captivity.

Threats: Thought to be relatively common in the 1970s, this bird is now abundant only in isolated patches. Due to habitat destruction, this species is on the decline and may soon become extinct.

Fun Facts: Both male and female ducks have claws on their feet, which is useful since they perch and make their nests in trees. They are sexually mature at two years. They can have 6 to 12 offspring.



Bali Mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi)

Bali Mynah
Judith Wolfe

                   Bali Mynah


Zoo collection includes: A pair (male and female).

Found in the wild: Bali. In fact, the only bird native to Bali.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: They live in the Tropical Rain Forest

Description: They are about nine inches long. They are almost entirely white except for the black tips on the wings and the blue mask-like coloring over their eyes. The feet and legs are a blue-gray as is the beak. The pairs stay together in the Zoo.

What do they eat: Insects and fruits.

Life span: Unknown in wild, up to 25 years in zoos

Threats: These birds are critically endangered- there are only about 14 left in the wild today. Major threats to the Bali mynahs are the pet trade, lumbering, and poaching.

Fun Facts: Scientists discovered the Bali mynah, or Bali starling, in1912. Its species name comes from Lord Rothschild, a British ornithologist who financed the collecting of this species. The Bali mynah is an important national symbol and has been adopted as the island of Bali's official bird. Also called the Bali starling, is found in one small region of Bali, an island that is smaller than the size of Rhode Island.



Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

Blue-Gray Tanager
Judith Wolfe

        Blue-Gray Tanager


Zoo collection includes: Two

Found in the wild: Lives in semiopen habitats from southern Mexico to central South America.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: They live in the Tropical Rain Forest

Description: The blue-gray tanager is a small bird, weighing between 30 - 40 grams and measuring six inches, including its two-inch-long tail. The head, throat and under parts are a pale gray with a greenish-blue tinge. The tail and wings are a bright blue and its back is a darker blue. While both sexes are similar in appearance, the color of the female is generally duller and grayer than that of the male.

What do they eat: Insects and fruit

Threats: Adult blue-gray tanagers are preyed upon by felines, snakes, birds of prey and crocodilians. Other predators, such as raccoons, eat young birds and eggs. Habitat destruction due to deforestation is the primary threat to this species.

Fun Facts: There are over two hundred species of colorful tanagers found from Canada all the way to central Argentina. It spends much of its time on the ground searching for small fruits and insects.

 

 

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris)

Fawn-Breasted Bowerbird
Judith Wolfe

     Fawn-breasted Bowerbird

Zoo collection includes: Two males, from New Guinea and Australia.

Found in the wild: New Guinea and Australia where it inhabits the tropical forests, mangroves, savanna woodlands and forest edges.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: They can be seen in the Tropical Rain Forest. Look into the middle of the habitat. They can be seen hiding in the leaves.

Description: They are greyish brown with spotted white plumage, a black bill, dark brown iris, yellow mouth and an orange buff below. Both sexes are similar. The female is slightly smaller than the male.

What do they eat: Its diet consists mainly of figs, fruits and insects.

Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts: The nest is a loose cup made of small sticks up in a tree. The bower itself is that of "avenue-type" with two sides of wall of sticks and usually decorated with green-colored berries.

 

Emerald Starling (Lamprotornis iris )

Emerald Starling
Judith Wolfe

                    Emerald Starling

Zoo collection includes: Three

Found in the wild: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast in the open savanna and woodlands

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest

Description: Emerald Starlings are bright emerald green with purple ear-coverts, neck patch, and belly.  The eyes are dark.  Like other starlings, they species have a strong narrow beak, and strong legs and feet for perching.  They are 7-7.5 inches long.  Juveniles are brown below and mixed brown-green above, with green wings.

What do they eat: In the wild, they eat small fruits, seeds, and insects.  At CPZ, the starlings eat soft-billed bird diet, small bird maintenance, chopped fruits and vegetables, and meal worms

Life span: They can live up to 14 years in captivity.

Threats: Although this species has a limited range, it is not thought to be endangered.

Fun Facts: The emerald starling uses its strong beak to probe for insects and seeds in soil and heavy vegetation. In the wild, the species lives in flocks of 15–20 members; these flocks occasionally gather to form larger groups. The emerald starling locates its nest in small holes found in tree stumps or trunks. The male and female cooperate in building the nest from leaves, and both bring food to chicks after they hatch. Like other starlings, Emerald Starlings have special muscles that allow them to open their beaks while probing in the soil, giving them easier access to many insects. They have different calls for different purposes, including alarm calls, contact calls, and pre-flight calls. 

 

 

Crested Coua (Coua cristata)

Crested Coua
Judith Wolfe

                 Crested Coua

Zoo collection includes: One pair.

Found in the wild: Madagascar

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest. Look up.

Description: It is medium-sized, approximately 12 inches long. It is blue-grey with grey crest, blue bare orbital skin, rufous breast, brown iris, black  bill and legs, white belly and long white-tipped purplish-blue tail feathers. It is distinguished by its beautiful turquoise coloring over its eye.

What do they eat: The diet consists mainly of various insects, fruits, berries, seeds, snails and chameleons.

Threats: Not threatened.

Fun Facts: The female usually lays two white eggs in nest made from twigs. It is a member if the cuckoo family.


Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella)

Fairy Bluebird
Judith Wolfe

                Fairy Bluebird

Zoo collection includes: One male

Found in the wild: These birds inhabit the forests of Himalayan foothills, north-eastern India, Burma and Indochina.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest.

Description: Males have a dazzling bluish-purple coloring with lustrous black under parts. As tends to happen among birds, the females are a duller color- in this case a muted blue-green. Adults may reach up to 11 inches

What do they eat: Fairy Bluebirds feed largely on fruit and insects. They are particularly fond of wild figs, and also eat some flower nectar. They feed their young insects.

Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts: They live in pairs or small troops and keep to the evergreen lowland forest. They have a very loud contact call and short sharp whistles. While not migratory, they wander locally depending on the seasonal abundance of fruit. They usually travel quietly in pairs though the forest, but when a large fig tree is bearing, scores of birds may gather for the banquet together.


Golden-breasted Starling (Cosmopsarus regius)

Golden-breasted Starling
Judith Wolfe

           Golden-breasted Starllng

Zoo collection includes: Two

Found in the wild: The Golden-breasted starling is found in north-east Africa in the arid acacia of Somalia, Ethiopia, eastern Kenya and north-eastern Tanzania. It is most numerous in Tsavo National Park in Kenya. It inhabits the dry bush and thorn bush country, generally seen on the tops of trees.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest.

Description: It has a bright, metallic blue tail and back, which merges into the green of its head, white eyes and blue-violet wings, it gets its name from the yellow of its breast, belly, and upper tail covers, a color considered unique to African passerines.

What do they eat: The Golden-breasted starling lives almost entirely on insects. They love termites.

Life span: 12 to 14 years

Threats: Not endangered

Fun Facts: In some regions, starlings are also referred to as grackles. Starlings live in small family groups of 3-12 members and are very noisy. Golden-breasted starlings exhibit cooperative breeding, where group members assist with nest-building and feeding the young. In this sort of arrangement, breeding females often solicit food from other members of the group to feed to the young. She crouches and quivers while gaping and vocalizing. The group either ignores her and feeds the young themselves, or gives her part of the food to feed the young, or gives her all the food.

 

 

Scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

Scarlet Ibis
Judith Wolfe

  Scarlet Ibis with Spread Wings


Zoo collection includes: Eleven

Found in the wild: Tropical rainforests and mangroves of Central America and northern South America.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: On or over the beach in the tropical rain forest.

Description: Solid scarlet except for black wing tips; bill is long, thin and curved downward; neck is long and slender; legs are also long and thin with partially webbed feet; juveniles are dull, grayish brown Up to 24 inches.

What do they eat: They eat shrimp, crabs, various crustaceans, mollusks, and insects

Life span: Up to 20 years

Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts: The scarlet Ibis is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago. It belongs to the same order as herons, spoonbills, and storks. Scarlet ibises forage for food by probing their long curved bills into soft mud. They also are known to sway their bills back and forth in shallow water to capture prey.



Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Sulfuratus)
Keel-billed Toucan
Judith Wolfe

          Keel-billed Toucan


Zoo collection includes: One

Found in the wild: Central and South America in tropical and subtropical rainforests

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: On or over the beach in the tropical rain forest. Presently off exhibit.

Description: The keel-billed toucan averages about 25 inches in length. Its body is covered with black plumage with red and white coverts under and on top of its tail. The toucan has green skin around its eyes and lore (the area between the eyes and the bill). The bird has a yellow face and throat and stands on two blue legs. Broad, heavy wings and a short tail force the bird to have a very laborious flight, flapping its wings hard in upward and downward movements. The most obvious characteristic of the toucan is its beak. A large rainbow colored structure, the beak appears quite heavy and cumbersome, but is actually light because it is composed of the protein keratin. The beak is hollow with thin rods of bone to support it. It houses a feather like tongue which catches the animal's food and flicks it down its throat.

What do they eat: Fruits (primarily berries), some insects, bird eggs, and tree frogs

Life span: Up to 20 years

Threats: Threatened, but not endangered, due to the destruction of its home the rain forest

Fun Facts: The Keel-billed toucans are a very social bird and can often be seen in flocks of six or more birds. They lay one to four eggs in tree trunks and the parent birds take turns incubating the eggs. This bird displays a rapid, heavy flapping of the wings when flying and calls with a creek creek sound, similar to a frog.


Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Kookaburra
Judith Wolfe

 Kookaburra - Tisch Chidren's Zoo


Zoo collection includes: One

Found in the wild: They inhabit woodland areas of eastern and south western Australia.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: This bird is part of the Education program.

Description: Kookaburras, known as the Laughing Jackasses of Australia, are from the family Kingfishers. Similar to other kingfishers, Kookaburras have a stout and compact body, short neck, rather long and pointed bill and short legs.
Kookaburras are 18 inches in height, the upper parts dark brown, the wings spotted gray-blue. A white band separates the head from the body. There is a dark stripe through the eye, and the under parts are white. The strong bill is black.

What do they eat:  In the wild, Kookaburras are known to be partial to the young of other birds and snakes, as well as insects and small reptiles.

Life span: Averages 15 years

Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts: In many of the old Tarzan movies, the jungle sounds were often recordings of the laughing kookaburra call, which lives nowhere near Africa. The Australian aborigines have a legend about the Kookaburra. When the sun rose for the first time, the god Bayame ordered the kookaburra to utter its loud, almost human laughter in order to wake up mankind so that they should not miss the wonderful sunrise. The aborigines also believed that any child who insulted a kookaburra would grow an extra slanting tooth.

 

Magpie Shrike (Corvinella melanoleuca)

Magpie Shrike
Judith Wolfe

              Magpie Shrike


Zoo collection includes: One

Found in the wild: Africa

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest. Look up.

Description: Magpie-shrikes are large songbirds with pied (black-and-white) or blackish plumage and straight, powerful bills. The Magpie Shrike is black and has white spotting on back and wings. The juvenile Magpie Shrikes are similar to adults, but duller in color. The Magpie Shrike is a rather large bird, being about 6-8 inches plus a tail that is even longer!

What do they eat: Insects

Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts: They are unique in their vocal duets, their cooperative breeding behavior, and their gregariousness. The Magpie Shrike is known for their duets with each other. They will sing for long periods of time. It is not unusual to see a flock of a dozen or more Magpie Shrikes, although it is more normal to see them in pairs or family groups. The Magpie Shrike is territorial and will mate for life.


Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota)
Blue-crowned Motmot
Judith Wolfe

       Blue-crowned Motmot

Zoo collection includes: Two

Found in the wild: Mexico to South America in open woodland, humid forest edge, second growth, scrub

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest. Look up.

Description: The blue-crowned motmot has a large head with down curved, short, broad beak, which is serrated along the upper edge. Their tarsi (feet) are unique in that they are particularly short with a middle toe almost completely fused to the inner toe and only one rear toe. Most of the species of motmots have tail feathers that distinguish them from other birds. The center tail feathers, which twitch like the pendulum of a clock when the motmot is perched, have bare spines at the tip. This makes them easily recognizable. The plumage of the blue-crowned motmot is shades of green and blue. They have red eyes, a turquoise crown and black face. It is about 17 inches long.

What do they eat: Motmots feed primarily on insects, crushing them in their saw-edged bill. They round out this diet with fruit and occasionally larger prey animals like lizards, frogs, and even mice.

Threats: Because they can live in many different forest types, ranging from rainforests to shaded coffee farms, the blue-crowned motmot is not on the endangered list. However, as shaded coffee farms and forests are destroyed, the survival of this beautiful bird is threatened.

Fun Facts: The word "motmot" is an American-Spanish word coined as an imitation of the call that the birds make. The birds live by themselves or in pairs, never in flocks. Each pair keeps to a particular feeding territory. Like their cousins the kingfishers and bee eaters, motmots dig elaborate nests below the ground, consisting of a large tunnel extending six feet into an earthen bank. Both male and female cooperate in nest building.

 

 

Metallic Starling (Aplonis Metallica Metallica)

Metallic Starling
Judith Wolfe

            Metallic Starling


Zoo collection includes: Three

Found in the wild: They are native to New Guinea and other Australasian islands, reaching mainland northern Australia.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest

Description: The adult has brilliant red eyes, a long tail and green-glossed black plumage. Immatures are pale below with dark streaks.

What do they eat:  Fruit, occasionally insects and nectar.

Threats: Not threatened.

Fun Facts: Australia's only native Starling, Metallic Starlings nest in dense colonies of more than a thousand birds. They nest and travel in enormous colonies making them important seed dispersers for various tropical plants. Also known as Shining Starling.

 

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Mountain Peacock-pheasant  (Polyplectron inopinatum)

Mountain Peacock-pheasant
Judith Wolfe

   Mountain Peacock-pheasant

Zoo collection includes: One

Found in the wild: Endemic to mountain forests of central Malay Peninsula.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest. Look for it walking along the ridge above the beach or in the middle of the habitat.

Description: The head and neck, breast and belly are gray, with no crest; mantle and wings with small bluish-green ocelli; mostly chestnut overall. The female has black ocelli on upperparts, unspurred legs and tail of eighteen feathers. The female is smaller and duller than male.

What do they eat: The diet consists mainly of berries, beetles and ants.

Threats: Due to ongoing habitat loss, small population size and limited range, the Mountain Peacock-pheasant is evaluated as vulnerable

Fun Facts: Male territorial call is series of 1-4 fairly loud, harsh clucks or squawks.

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Pied Avocet
Judith Wolfe

                  Pied Avocet

Zoo collection includes: Six

Found in the wild: They are found in Europe, Africa, and central and southern Asia.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest.

Description: Wading bird, with a characteristic long, narrow, upturned bill, which it uses to sift water as it feeds in the shallows. It is about 45 cm/18 in long, has long legs, partly webbed feet, and black and white plumage.

What do they eat: They are wading birds. Fish, insects, etc.

Threats: The species is threatened in Europe by the pollution of wetlands with PCBs, insecticides, selenium, lead and mercury.  Important wintering sites (e.g. in Portugal or the Yellow Sea) are also threatened by infrastructure development,  land reclamation, pollution, human disturbance and reduced river flows.

Fun Facts: The Pied Avocet is the emblem of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. In a large colony they are aggressively defensive and chase off any other species of birds that try to nest among or near them.

 

 

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra )

Red Bird of Paradise
Judith Wolfe

          Red Bird of Paradise

Zoo collection includes: Two

Found in the wild: Red birds of paradise are endemic to the rain forests of New Guinea’s western islands.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest.

Description: The Red Bird of Paradise, Paradisaea rubra is a large, long, brown and yellow bird with a dark brown iris, grey legs and yellow bill. The male has an emerald green face, a pair of elongated black corkscrew shaped tail wires, dark green feather pompoms above each eye and a train of glossy crimson red plumes with whitish tips at either side of the breast.

What do they eat: The species' diets consist of fruit, berries, insects, frogs and lizards.

Threats: Near threatened due to habitat destruction.

Fun Facts: There are about forty-three species of Birds of Paradise. It’s long ornamental red plumes require at least six years to fully develop. The male red bird of paradise has an elaborate courtship display. While in full display, he performs what is known as the “butterfly dance” by which he spreads and vibrates his wings like a giant butterfly. Birds of Paradise are largely solitary tree dwellers. Each species has a characteristic vocalization--loud, shrill call, harsh shriek, or prolonged whistle. Their flight is slow. They are not migratory.

 

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)

Speckled Mousebird
Judith Wolfe

          Speckled Mousebird


Zoo collection includes: One

Found in the wild: Africa, south of the Sahara.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: They may may generally be found perched among the branches inside the Tropic building on the left-hand side, past the entrance and near the tortoises.

Description: These are slender grayish or brown birds with soft, hair-like body feathers and very long thin tails, which can reach up to 10 inches long. They are not strong fliers with their short, rounded wings, and prefer to climb and scurry among the branches of trees.  Up to 12—14 inches. However, most of the length is because of an 8- to 10-inch long tail.

What do they eat: Berries, fruits, and buds. At the CPZ, these birds are fed avian pellets and bird salad.

Threats: Least concerned.

Fun Facts: With their hooked claws they can even eat upside down like bats. These are conspicuous birds which are highly social, feeding together and engaging in mutual preening. They frequently go to ground to dust bathe and occasionally to eat soil. At night they roost in very tight groups of 20 or so birds and on cold nights they become torpid.


Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)

Sunbittern display
Judith Wolfe

            Sunbittern Display


Zoo collection includes: Two

Found in the wild: In the tropical rainforests of Central and South America from southern Mexico to southeastern Brazil. Usually near wooded banks of rivers, streams, and ponds.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: You can usually see them from the upstairs balcony in the tropical rain forest.

Description: Adults may grow up to 18 inches. These primarily ground-dwelling birds have long, pale yellow legs and toes, allowing them to wade in the water for their food. Their spear-like beak seizes prey easily. The head is black with a white stripe over and under each eye. The chin and throat are also white. The rest of the plumage comes in an array of colors and speckled patterns.

What do they eat: Mollusks, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. At the CPZ, these birds are fed kibble and meat.

Life span: 15 years in managed conditions
Sunbittern Head
Judith Wolfe

                     Sunbittern


Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts:  Bitterns make nests of sticks, mud and decaying vegetable material in trees or bushes. Both parents tend to their clutch. The male and female protect and feed the chicks in turn during the first two weeks, never leaving the nest unattended. Later, the chicks are left alone for several hours each day while both parents hunt for food. As a sunbittern spreads its wings, a patch of chestnut and orange appears on the primary wing feathers and across the tail. This display is primarily used as a threat or defense rather than courtship and is typically accompanied by a low hiss and bowing. These birds catch their prey by striking quickly, using their long neck and spear-like bill. As it unfolds its tail, the sunbittern shows an enormous eye-like design, which is often used to frighten predators.




Superb Starling (Spreo superbus)

Superb Starling
Judith Wolfe

             Superb Starling


Zoo collection includes: Eight

Found in the wild: Parts of northeastern Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Sudan

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest. They are easy to spot because they hang around in a group and are noisy.

Description:
Superb Starlings are small, stocky birds with rounded wings and a strong, straight beak.  Their upperparts and large bib are dark metallic blue-green.  They have a white band along the bottom of the bib, and the rest of the chest is bright chestnut.  The underparts are white.  Adults have pale yellow eyes.  Juveniles have darker eyes, and are duller in overall coloring than adults.  Males and females look alike.  They reach 7-8 inches in length.

What do they eat: In the wild, they eat a variety of insects and other arthropods, worms, fruits, and grains.  They eat some agricultural pests, but also help themselves to the crops.  At CPZ, they eat soft-billed bird diet, chopped fruits and vegetables, and mealworms.

Life span: 15 years

Threats: Not threatened

Fun Facts: Superb Starlings forage by probing into the soil and then forcing the beak open, creating an open space where they can search for food.  They have strong muscles attached to the beak, and captive starlings will search for a substrate to probe in, even if their food is always provided in a dish. They have exceptional flight abilities.  They fly swiftly and can maneuver quickly, with large flocks twisting and turning as one. Their voice is various chattering and whistling notes, and they sometimes mimic other birds.  Like other starlings, Superb Starlings are gregarious and usually unafraid of people.  They are often seen feeding near towns and agricultural fields.

 

Troupial (Icterus icterus)

Troupial
Judith Wolfe

                           Troupial


Zoo collection includes: Four

Found in the wild: South America. Their range from northeastern Colombia east through Venezuela and into Aruba, Isla Margarita, Curaçao, southwest Guyana, Brazil, eastern Ecuador, Peru, and eastern Bolivia.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest. They usually travel in pairs.

Description: Up to 9 inches in length. The Venezuelan Troupial is fairly large in size, with a long tail and a bulky bill. It has a black head and upper breast. The feathers on the front of the neck and upper breast stick outward, making an uneven boundary between the black and the orange of the bird's lower breast and underside. The rest of the orange color is found on the upper and lower back, separated by the black shoulders. The wings are mostly black except for a white streak that runs the length of the wing when in a closed position. The eyes are yellow, and surrounding each one, there is a patch of bright, blue, naked skin. The wings also have white markings on them. It closely resembles its relation, the Baltimore oriole.

What do they eat:  Insects and fruits.

Threats: Least concerned.

Fun Facts: The Troupial is the national bird of Venezuela. Pairs are monogamous and mated throughout the year.



Taveta Golden Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps)
Taveta Golden Weaver at nest
Judith Wolfe

  Taveta Golden Weaver at Nest


Zoo collection includes: 10

Found in the wild: They are sub-saharan birds. They live in swampy woodlands along coastal East Africa from Kenya to Tanzania.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: These beautiful yellow birds may be found flying all over the Tropic Zone of the Central Park Zoo. Since they are always on the move, it might be best to watch their basket-like nests, hanging from the palm trees throughout the building.

Description: The males are bright yellow with an orange coloring across the nape and breast. The wings and tail are a greenish color. Females are a dull, yellowish-olive color with paler yellow under parts. They have a yellow stripe above each eye.  

What do they eat: Grass, Insects  and corn seeds. At CPZ, they eat soft-billed bird diet and chopped fruits and vegetables.

Threats: Not endangered.

Fun Facts: It builds spherical grass nests, usually suspended over water. The males build the nests and the females pick out the best nest to decide which bird would be a good breeding partner. Strong claws and bills enable these birds to weave their elaborate nests. The weavers get their name from the elaborate, woven nests that they build.  Each strand in a weaver’s nest is carefully woven into place, so that it is difficult to pull out even a single strand.  Like most other weavers, Taveta golden weavers are very gregarious.  They nest in large colonies, sometimes with other weaver species. They are very noisy birds, and their voice has been described as a “constant chattering”.


West African Long-tailed Hornbill (Bucerotidae)
West African Long-tailed Hornbill
Judith Wolfe

West African Long-tailed   Hornbill  


Zoo collection includes: One

Found in the wild: Central and West Africa.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: In the tropical rain forest

Description: A black and white large bird with a cool head of white feathers and a long curved beak. Its tail is very long with spots on the inside.

What do they eat:  Hornbill diets span the spectrum from animals to fruits and seeds but most are omnivorous, mixing meat and fruit in their meals

Threats: Not threatened, however, like many other groups of birds, hornbills are hunted for food and consumed for medicine.

Fun Facts: There are 45 species of hornbills and are distributed widely through the tropical regions of Africa and Asia.  Most hornbills live in forests, and nest in holes in trees, while the species of open habitats nest in cavities in hollow trees or in holes in cliffs. Hornbills have a remarkable breeding system. The female of almost all species is sealed into the nesting chamber in the tree during the breeding season. She remains there, laying and brooding her eggs and hatched young, with only a narrow slit-like opening to the outside. The female builds a wall across the entrance to the nesting cavity using her excrement, which cures to a very hard consistency. Sometimes the male bird assists with the building of this wall, using moist clay. Presumably, the walled-in female and nestlings are kept relatively safe from nest predators. However, both she and the developing nestlings must be fed faithfully by the male. In some species, the female breaks out of the nesting cavity once the chicks are partially grown. The cavity is then re-walled, and the female assists the male in gathering food for the hungry young hornbills.







 



 

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