Do I have a nice collections of extant theropods for you this Thursday! I’ll simply cover the new bird house of Zoo Berlin’s Africa part, minus the walk-through aviary that is worth a post of its own.
As I mentioned before, most cages have only one or two species in them. In rare cases, two volant species are combined with a(n essentially) non-volant one, e.g. a quail. A rare exception is this huge one:
Wattled Starlings (Creatophora cinerea; above a male in breeding plumage) and
Tambourine Doves (Turtur tympanistria), who did not feel like showing themselves very much, and:
Overall, I count one-two-three-four-five species in one cage! Woot!
Oh, you wonder how I got both the Tokko and the Weaver into focus despite the distance between them? I’ll tell you – when I find time to write up another post on how to use hugin.
On to the next cage! Purple Roller (Coracias naevius) is the sole inhabitant. Although I am sure a certain esteemed colleague will now moan and complain about seeing them everywhere (which is true!), they are nice birds to look at.
The next cage is another single-species one, housing Bearded Barbets (Lybius dubius). The one below looks proud of its beard.
Of the next cage’s three species, one was horribly hectic, but easy to photograph, because there are enough of them that the favourite spots for rest are always occupied.
Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus); they were rather freaked out when the keeper came in to clean the cage. Also really hectic, but in the general chaos smart enough to just sit tight: a Hoopoe (Upupa epops).
These really cool birds used to live across a wide range including Germany, but I have never seen a wild one 😦 Destruction of habitat and DDT did them in, but at least some 400 breeding pairs are back after intensive protection measures.
Really tough to photograph was the Blacksmith Plover (Vanellus armatus), another bird very common in zoos. There was only one around, and that one stuck close to the fence and kept giving me angry stares. but I tricked it, by walking away then rushing back when it was busy giving the keeper angry stares.
The next cage is quite colourful, with Amethyst Starlings (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) and Taveta Golden Weavers (Ploceus castaneiceps). Male weavers are golden, the females much greener and less conspicuous.
These two gaudy species are supplemented by – finally! – a quail. Harlequin Quail (Coturnix delegorguei), to be exact. Harlequin Quail no like taking photo 😦 I still got a pretty good one when the bird stood up as high as it could. For intimidation or for a better view?
Another huge cage is for the Silvery-cheeked Hornbill (Bycanistes brevis). This one was busy preening, and I only got a few good shots. What’s interesting about his species is how the mortar for closing the nesting cave is created. Instead of the male’s poo, it is the female’s saliva that is added as binder agent.
Then, there are fluffy greyish balls (Grey-headed Social-weaver [Pseudonigrita arnaudi]) and well fittingly coloured Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis). I managed one shot of a weaver that did not puff itself up to the point where it was unrecognisable. All birds were sitting in the highest branches and really close to the mesh; I was lucky to get acceptable shots at all.
Two small birds did their best to thwart my photo efforts. I got the Yellow-fronted Canary (Serinus mozambicus), but there’s only this one picture, and that is only tolerable after heavy photo editing.
It’s cage mate, the Copper Sunbird (Cinnyris cupreus), was even worse, because its dark colour made against-the-light shots even harder. But then, lo and behold!, I got this:
I guess this is the best shot to end the post on.