Joining together individuals who share a common interest in breeding Carduelan species in captivity
Rare Species in Captivity
Gray-headed Olive-back Finch
It has come
to my attention that some of the very rare Estrildid finches are
occasionally found and kept in Aviculture but seldom an effort being put in
to provide suitable enclosures for them to be able to breed and hopefully
produce the much needed captive bred birds! The birds are often wasted, or
rendered uninteresting simply because no one knows what they are or no one
else is breeding them, often their colors are dull and uninteresting so why
even bother breeding them!
It is a
pity because the breeders could then provide as with some invaluable
information on their requirements in captivity and may be answer the
questions on why are they so rare in the wild. The art of keeping birds is
not and never has been about how many different species one keeps or how
many birds one keeps. The art of keeping birds in captivity is; being able
to asses and provide the type of environment the birds need, knowing and
being able to provide food similar to what they feed on in the wild and
simply loving, enjoying, respecting and preserving the wild species in
colors as they are in the wild.
is difficult or impossible for most Finch hobbyist (if kept to many) to
provide generous amount of space for every bird in their possession, it is
best to concentrate on one or two closely related species. Estrildid finches
are more often better breeders when kept in a colony environment (together),
therefore it is important to keep an aye on those rare or unknown species
for any signs of aggression which would indicate that this particular
species should only be bred in pairs per aviary.
Although the ICS is a web site that deals with all kinds of topics concerning the Carduelan species, I decided to add a page for Estrildid Finches in the “Photo Album”.
Salvadori's Serin -
From what we know so far very little if any work has been done with these birds, Salvadori's Serin appears under several synonyms in the literature which at first made me wonder if anyone really knew what they were talking about. So far I have received some correspondence regarding this specie but no one has ever seen them or knew of anyone who bred or kept them in captivity. One of the E-mails received was from a good friend of mine Scientist who works with birds at one of the Institutes of Zoology in Europe. Not only that he knows Carduelan birds well, he also breeds them, as a part of his Scientific studies. He has given me a reason to doubt about the authenticity of this specie by saying that they might be a wild hybrids between two closely related specie. He said:
"But according to Walters (1975 - 1982) Ocrospiza xantholaema (Salvad., 1896) (Syn. Poliospiza collaris Reich., 1905; Poliospiza dimidiata, Mad., 1912) is a doubtful specie on the basis of few specimens from S.E. Ethiopia and maybe a hybrid between Ocraspiza reichenovi - (Reichenow's Seedeater- Serinus atrogularis as we know them) and Ocraspiza dorsostriata - (White-bellied Canary - Serinus dorsostriata as we know them) or a hybrid between the Ocraspiza reichenovi - Reichenow's Seedeater and the Ocraspiza atrogularis - (Yellow-rumped Seedeater - Serinus atrogularis).
For those of you who own "Canary and Related Birds" by "Horst Bielfield" a beautiful photo of a Reichenow's Seedeater can be found on page 324. White-bellied Canary (Serinus dorsostriatus) can be found in "Finches and Sparrows" page 24. The yellow -rumped Seedeater can be found in both books as well. If anyone out there has other information on this specie please let me know, so that we can be aware of what "could be" and what could not be the truth.
If anyone read the articles I wrote in the AFA's "Watchbird Magazine", Brazilian "Atualidades Ornithologica" or the "Australian Birdkeeper" about Endangered Siskin species, the Yarrell's Siskins another endangered specie, is by far more endangered than most people think simply because it hybridizes with a well known close relative the Hooded Siskin (Spinus alleni) producing a strain known as the "Zorro Yarrelli" as the name implies the black of it's crown extends and covers its eyes, the patterns are often very asymmetrical and their pink feet are often all black. This is the worst that can happen to an endangered specie and is probably impossible to save the specie although some people would like to "sweep it under the carpet" by saying "it is only a variation of the same specie.
As for the beautiful little Saffron Siskins according to the last report from Ecuador, they are very vulnerable but if they can stop the forests from being cut down they are pretty safe for now. These are one of the Siskin species virtually unknown in captivity but threatened with extinction from the distraction of their habitat.
Here is the list of Carduelan species (or aviary kept finch-like birds) which are threatened or endangered, watch out for them and if anyone still keeps some of the species in captivity and I know that some are still kept, do not waste them. Specie like the Cone-billed Tanager which is only known by one single bird collected in 1938 and hasn't been seen since it is presumably extinct. The bird was collected in Cuiaba -Brazil (Mato Grosso), anyone traveling trough the neighboring countries like Bolivia, Peru, Colombia or Venezuela watch out for this black and white bird (not to be confused with the Black and white Tanager), let's hope they are still surviving somewhere.
1.) Ankober Serin (Serinus ankoberensis)
2.) Azores Bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina)
3.) Cone-billed Tanager (Conothraupis mesoleuca),
4.) Cherry-throated Tanager (Nemosia rourei)
5.) Golden-winged Grosbeak (Rhynchostrathus socotranus)
6.) Hispaniola Crossbill (Loxia megaplaga)
7.) Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus)
8.) Saffron Siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii)
9.) Salvadori's Serin (Serinus xantholaema)
10.) Sao Tome Grosbeak (Neospiza concolor)
11.) Yerrel's Siskin (Spinus Yarrellii)
12.) Yellow-throated Serin (Serinus flavigula)
13.) Yellow Cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata)
14.) Warsangli Linnet (Carduelis johhanis)
Also, there is large number of South American "Sporophilas" (Seedeaters) threatened, they are not listed here but if anyone out there is specializing in Seedeaters please let me know, I can add the list of Seedeaters as well.
some promising news about the Cone billed Tanager apparently
rediscovered East of Bolivian border, southern Goiás province in
Brazil just south west of Jatai. This
bird is known by only one specimen collected more then 60 years ago, and
kept in Museum in Paris. Despite me on few occasions requesting a photo
of this bird from Finch breeders in Paris I still haven’t heard
anything from them. It is not clear to me whether is it or not allowed
to photograph birds in museums but I remember Ornithologist who came all
the way from Canada to Sydney just to see some of the Australian rare or
presumably extinct species like the Paradise Parrot and the elusive
Night Parrot, a booking and a special permission was required to
photograph these birds. Since the late 1930 the Cone-Billed
Tanager has been reported on only one occasion in 1998 http://outside.away.com/outside/adventure/200206/200206_phantom_1.adp
but the sighting was not confirmed and again reported this year (2006)
but this time published in the Birdlife International http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2006/03/cone-billed_tanager.html
and the Atulitades Ornithologicas.
The report appears to be more genuine, a small photo also being published in both articles.
bird about the size of a Ultramarine Grosbeak (16.5 cm) and similar in
color to it’s closest relative the Black and white Tanager but
according to the “The Birds of South America” by Robert Ridgely,
differs from the later by having all black flanks and crissum and the
white wing speculum may be smaller. The female was never seen until now.
Check out these links, they are very interesting! http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=46692
The Forgotten Cardinal the Crimson-Fronted Cardinal (P. baeri. xinguensis) although reasonably common in its region hasn’t been mention at all in the recent times, the only photo of this bird that I have seen is published as (Cardeal-de-Goiás) in the Brazilian Confederação Brasileira dos Criadores de Pássaros Nativos Web site www.cobrap.org.br . Cardinals are not very popular birds in Aviculture, being over aggressive, very insectivorous during the breeding season and definitely not a cage birds, they are nowadays only found in Zoos or kept by the very few very experienced Aviculturists. From the four species we once enjoyed in Australia only about 10 Red Crested Cardinal are left since the import ban in 1950’s and none have been bred in the recent years. Worth only $10 a pair in South America they sell for around $4000 in Australia when they’re available, certainly those who are successful breeding them have the right incentive to do so. Green and the Red-Cowled Cardinals (Pope Cardinals) have probably died out. If they still exist they would be priceless. Money is not often the reason why we keep birds, it would be nice to have larger variety of species to work with but as you see flooding the markets with large number of species we cannot sell is not an option. Therefore it is up to the Finch Clubs or the Avicultural Societies to request permission from the government to import certain number of species of (number of birds permitted to import per year or two) and this should never be denied unless the birds are threatened or endangered. We have many more birds that are just about hanging in existence, and increasingly more and more sad stories about the last bird of its species in existence like the Yellow Canaries (the Large Green Singers), European Siskins etc. On the other hand the status of some Finch species even after 50 years is by far better then ever in the past. Check this out (it can only be accessed using the Internet Explorer ), a link to Jean Michel's web site, those who persevere with Cardinals get their rewords, in this case it's the Red Cardinals - http://www.eleveur-de-carduelines.com/index.asp?dest=cardueline&ref=fiche&choice=60
Checkout this other interesting sites:
These are the videos taken by
Josep del Hoyo (editor of the "Handbook of the Birds of the
World" http://www.hbw.com/ )
To see Salvadori's Serin check
out this link http://www.hbw.com/ibc/
While you're there check out the Abyssinian Siskins as well
Anyone thinking of taking a Birding Trip to Ethiopia check this out first: Solomon Berhe Tours http://www.solomonberhetours.com/
Saffron Siskin Posters are available for sale, the
price is AUD$10 plus shipping, the Posters are collectors item, designed by a professional
artist, the size is 43 cm by 28 cm, just the right size to frame and hang on the wall. The
Posters in Europe are available from Claudia
or in this part of the world please contact me. All
of the money will be going back to the Saffron Siskin Project.