Passerine bird husbandry and show management

image of Passerine bird husbandry and show management
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Passerine birds range in size from a few grams to over 1.5kg. They inhabit a wide range of habitats and have a variety of diets. Their life histories and reproductive behaviour are often unique. This chapter discusses sexing passerine birds; breeding and management of hardbills; breeding and management of softbills; colour mutations; mules and hybrids; and show training.

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4.1 Different colour variants of domesticated Canaries. The true ‘wild’ form is rarely seen. Zebra Finches are found in many different colour varieties; the natural form is seen here on the left. (© John Chitty)
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4.2 Pekin Robin. The cock’s song is a means of distinguishing between the sexes. Import bans have led to a marked increase in economic value for the Pekin Robin. (Courtesy of Kevin Eatwell)
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4.3 A bank of aviaries housing passerine birds undergoing rehabilitation for release into the wild. A modern bird room. The floor and all the surfaces and cages are made from easily disinfected material. Electricity and water are provided. Heating is from tubular heaters situated under the cages and lighting is both natural and artificial by means of ‘natural light’ fluorescent tubes (on a time switch for photoperiod control). Additional ventilation is provided by a wall-mounted extraction fan. In this bird room the nest-pans are situated on the outside of the cages for ease of management. A computer helps with data management, breeding records, feeding etc. This typical pet finch cage held two Zebra Finches. Such cages are often small, with inappropriate toys and vast quantities of seed. (a, courtesy of Kevin Eatwell; b, courtesy of Alan Harper; c, © John Chitty)
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4.4 Ringing. Java Sparrow chick 7–9 days of age, with eyes just opening and quills starting to appear. The leg is grasped in a position to apply the ring. The ring is pushed over the front toes, making sure that all three forward-pointing toes are in the ring. Once the ring is over the toes, it is gently pushed up over the back toe. The ring will only slide as far as the claw. Very carefully the toe is pulled out of the ring. Once the toe has been released, the ring is gently slid into position back down the leg.
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4.5 Colour mutations in Java Sparrows: one fawn and four normal colour; white. (© S. Nesbitt)
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