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pheasants in australia...

 
 
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  #1
pheasants in australia...
Old 07-05-2007

hornbill mentioned galliforms in chester and so rather than appear as having double standards i started a new post on pheasant sin australia.

pheasants are one of the few exotic birds families that we have a reasonable representation of here in australia, with some fairing much better than others. they are arguable some of the most colourful birds on earth and make excellent displays in zoos, since whilst many are easily and cheaply attained through aviculture, few people have seen them nonetheless.

however i unfortunately read that the siamaese fireback is virtually on the brink of extinction in the country due to low founder base and decades of inbreeding. basically the result is a near zero percent hatchability of eggs.(same unfortunately goes for another once-common exotic the greater rhea)

apparently, javan peafowl suffer from high rate of inbreeding also, though i don't think the situation is quite so bad. (interestingly i could never understand why the "javan green" peafowl at melbourne had blue feathers and many indian peafowl charicteristics. i since realised it is indeed a bluexgreen hybrid.

himalayan monal have apparently died out in australia, which is a shame for it is potentially the most attractive of all the pheasants. fortunately they appear to be doing well in NZ.

the good news is that hybrids between the two excluded (and theres A LOT) the gorgeous ruffed pheasants, golden and amhearsts are doing well. as are the silvers, which are somewhat like the siamese fireback with teh same wattled faces and teh kalij and many others.

essentially i'm just opening up a discussion here bout the various species status in captivity here in australia. i know there are quite a few bird-brainers here that would be happy to add more insight into the status of many species.

i for one have always wanted pheasants. hopefully one day i'll live in a house the a backyard again, not just a courtyard!
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  #2
Old 07-05-2007

I agree Pat, The monal is one of the most wonderful pheasants. Try this link. It really helps when looking about how to keep pheasants and Tragopans.

gbwf.org, Aviculture & Conservation of Galliformes (Game Birds)
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  #3
Old 08-05-2007

it might be a bit of a ecological/habitat/geographic soup of asian bird species but i think the palm aviary in taronga's wild asia is wonderful. in the canopy there are nicobar pigeons, imperial pigeons, lory and pekin robins, bt at ground level theres a stunning selection of pheasants-golden pheasants, kalij (a favourite of mine), javan peafowl and also some chukar partridge and king quail for good measure.
a focus on pheasants could be a long-term way for zoos to beef up exotic bird representation- and they fit well with the asian focus of our australian zoos!
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  #4
Old 08-05-2007

taronga had pheasant avaries years ago near where the current orang utans are. I think they were demolished to make way for the orangs exhibit.
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  #5
Old 08-05-2007

Quote:
Originally Posted by glyn View Post
a focus on pheasants could be a long-term way for zoos to beef up exotic bird representation- and they fit well with the asian focus of our australian zoos!
true, true. i'm particuarly fond of the ruffed pheasants and the silvers (i like their wattled faces for some reason).

i haven't yet seen the palm avairy, but in actual fact, there are enough "true" asian rainforest birds in aviculture and then so many australian-asian birds, that we could in fact dedicate a great-flight sized aviary just to an asian rainforest (but if its okay we'll leave the partridges out! )

i know taronga has been making good use of these australian stand-ins.

availability and compatability probably has an aweful lot to do with how the collection ends up in each aviary, but what i would like to see is more of an emphasis on avairys from different ecological habitats in asia. for example golden and kajil pheasants don't really belong in the tropical rainforest, but they would make an excellent contribution to an "asian highlands aviary" along with derbyan and slatey-headed parakeets, himalayan greenfinches, pekin robins and a host of other mountainous species.

sure we have no birds of paradise and out crowned pigeons are all but extinct but a good new guinea representation could be made up of the decent amount of PNG lories and pigeons we have in aviculture, then throw in just about every other colourful tropical australian favorite - most of them are found in new guinea also (and in truth its really not much more a part of "asia" than we are..)

you'd have no problem putting together and indochinese or greater sunda aviary with all the species left that i haven't mentioned...

i think that sort of a distinction would be a little more interesting and educational (to me anyway).
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  #6
Old 08-05-2007

spot on. in the 1980s taronga was involved in a program for swinhoes pheasant, but i think that was more for PR value than any practical conservation reason...siskins and palm cockatoos were also listed as a focus.
i like taronga's nicobar aviary next to the meerkats, with amherst pheasants and metallic starlings, pitta and pigeon species. and the vegetation is lush too.
in the future id like to see amherst pheasants in wild asian, and new pheasant aviaires in the aisan highlands featuring kalij and silver pheasants
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  #7
Old 08-05-2007

pat i think youre just going to have to start your own zoo!
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  #8
Old 08-05-2007

and if the padeys can do it, so can you (or me) but im having tasmania so putyour zoo somewhere else! lol
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  #9
Old 08-05-2007

HEY! the "Hobart Mountain Zoo" was my idea!

alright stuff ya. i'll take the "Centralian Desert Zoo" - and i'll keep addax, oryx, fennec, baboons.. might even get my hands on those grevy's zebra up north...
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  #10
Old 08-05-2007

oh and its interesting you mentioned metallic starlings and (blue-breasted) pittas.... they were two australian stand-in examples i had in my head but didn't mention. both gorgeous birds. the pittas are even found in java and maybe sumatra i think...
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  #11
Old 08-05-2007

swinhoes would fit in with an island in danger themed exhibit...them and javan peafowl would be the best candidates for any indonesian/island style aviaries.
on the chukar partridge, they actually are really interesting. theyre very tame, quite good looking in a plain kind of way and are very active and visible on the rockwork in the aviary and mock ruins/walls
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  #12
Old 08-05-2007

yeah i do like chukars myself, but they are just about as "rainforestie" as polar bears (well not quite and someone did tell me there is a polar bear on "lost"...)

they live in the rocky mountains of pakistan's western himalaya, thus work with that whole theme (i wish we still had monals in australia!), but are far from a forest dwelling species (let alone tropical rainforest)..

my idea for an "asian highlands" zone would be to order the exhibits in terms of maximum altitude for the species, thus making the visitor "ascend" through the himalaya from the bamboo forested foothills to the rocky peaks where the snow leopard and tahr roam. this is chuckar country....
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  #13
Old 08-05-2007

In the mountain area you could have some sclater's monal. There aren't any of them in Captivity so Australia could become the first place to keep them.
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  #14
Old 08-05-2007

unlikely my bird-buddy. its hard enough getting any bird here let alone a-not-found-anywhere-else-and-caught-from-the-wild-species...
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  #15
Old 08-05-2007

Ok.

In australia do you have the green peafowl( Pavo muticus) or the Javan green peafowl( Pavo m. Muticus) The latter is critically endangered and there are only 20 in captivity. Chester has bred them. They currently have 1 male.
 


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