Foreign softbills

  • 1969: a year of challenge

    1969: a year of challenge

    17th May 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/Paul Wittet. Geoff took home the prestigious award of best foreign bird at the 1970 Scottish National with a black-throated mango (pictured) and the same special a year later with another hummer, the green-fronted lancebill   Geoff Gradwell’s exotic…

  • Bee-eaters: housing and breeding

    Bee-eaters: housing and breeding

    4th May 2018

    Photo: Getty Images/edoardogobattoni.net. Not only bees: virtually all flying invertebrates are targeted by bee-eaters as prey. Here, a bee-eater at an Italian colony has caught a moth   In the March 28 issue, German softbill breeder Thomas Wendt introduced the European…

  • Bee-eater: my dream bird

    Bee-eater: my dream bird

    3rd April 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/aaltai. An exotic-looking specimen: the European bee-eater. There are 27 species of bee-eater listed in the family Meropidae, which are found in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Other species include the northern carmine (Merops nubicus), purple-bearded (Meropogon forsteni) and the…

  • Gary Bralsford: March bulletin

    Gary Bralsford: March bulletin

    19th March 2018

    Photo: Gary’s friend Colin has had pairs of white-collared kingfishers and brown-hooded kingfishers (example pictured) produce clutches already this year © Shutterstock.com/Michael Potter11 GARY BRALSFORD looks forward to the spring unfolding, with news of his own ongoing breeding preparations, developments in…

  • Amazilia: quintessential hummers

    Amazilia: quintessential hummers

    5th March 2018

    Photo: Weltvogelpark Walsrode. Weltvogelpark Walsrode in Germany has repeatedly produced chicks from its Amazilia hummingbirds. The park celebrated its 50th birthday in 2012 with a new hummingbird breeding centre  In most of their wild range, hummingbirds of the expansive genus Amazilia…

  • Gail Harland’s waterbirds: the scarlet ibis

    Gail Harland’s waterbirds: the scarlet ibis

    26th February 2018

    © Shutterstock.com/Martin Mecnarowski. A scarlet ibis roost in mangrove trees near Caroni Swamp in Trinidad. Such gatherings are among the world’s most memorable bird spectacles  AT COLCHESTER Zoo in Essex, I once heard a mother confidently telling her son that the scarlet…

  • Feather by feather

    Feather by feather

    19th February 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/Steve Byland Myriad shades of red feature in JARROD COTTER’s examination of the northern cardinal’s gorgeous plumage. THE northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of about 20-23cm (8-9in) and a wingspan of 25-30cm…

  • Softbills: Roller karaoke

    Softbills: Roller karaoke

    12th February 2018

    Photo: Gary Bralsford. Gary’s montane and African yellow white-eyes in their winter quarters This month, GARY BRALSFORD hits the ground running as he prepares his birds for the breeding season by employing an interesting tactic that involves playing wild bird calls……

  • Thrushes Bulletin by Austin Middlemiss

    Thrushes Bulletin by Austin Middlemiss

    5th February 2018

    Above: Winning exhibits at the 2015 Morpeth CBS open show. Austin nearly didn’t make it to last year’s after some softbill cages he’d ordered took longer to arrive than expected WELL I managed to get a show team out at the…

  • Feather by feather: the snow bunting

    Feather by feather: the snow bunting

    29th January 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/Sophia Granchinho In this month’s column, it’s time for Jarrod Cotter to study the Arctic specialist known as the snow bunting, which is the most northerly recorded passerine in the world. SNOW buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) are large for a bird…