Foreign softbills

  • Superb skulkers

    Superb skulkers

    10th September 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/sbw18. Wild hooded pittas enjoy a diet of invertebrates, their larvae and small lizards. Captive birds can be offered locusts, crickets, mealworms and waxmoths   In a beauty contest among bird families in the Old World Tropics, the…

  • Picathartes and other surprises

    Picathartes and other surprises

    28th August 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/YapAhock. Calculated risk: Geoff bought 10 unidentified juvenile flowerpeckers, two of which moulted out to be scarlet-breasted   Geoff Gradwell has been lucky to have kept some unusual and rare species during his time in aviculture. He recalls some…

  • Tropical conditions

    Tropical conditions

    18th August 2018

    Photo:© Shutterstock.com/RachelKolokoffHopper. Southern black flycatcher: a lovely glossy songbird found widely south of the Sahara   Our almost African summer must have looked familiar to many of Gary Bralsford’s hot-country species! Here he brings us up to date with his…

  • My rarest memories

    My rarest memories

    9th August 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/Christopher Becerra. Green honeycreeper: the only member of the genus Chlorophanes. This species was a regular addition to Geoff’s collection   Geoff Gradwell has worked with some of the most beautiful species in the Neotropics during his career…

  • Happy times with my tanagers

    Happy times with my tanagers

    4th August 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/Renata PedrozoBrassy-breasted tanager (Tangara desmaresti): a species Geoff has kept and had success with at bird shows   When Geoff Gradwell took a liking to the charismatic members of the tanager family, it was the start of a…

  • Feather by Feather

    Feather by Feather

    18th July 2018

    Photo: male golden oriole   Widespread in Europe, but painfully rare nowadays in Britain, the golden oriole is worth a close look wherever it’s seen. Jarrod Cotter examines a male bird   THE golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus) is a blackbird-sized…

  • Island hopper of the Pacific

    Island hopper of the Pacific

    18th June 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/wannachat. Nicobar pigeons: even from this angle the nest looks more solid than the flakey affairs built by most species of pigeon   With its odd stocky build and ornate hackles, the Nicobar pigeon doesn’t look an ace…

  • Winning with my Wilson’s

    Winning with my Wilson’s

    16th June 2018

    Photo: © Shutterstock.com/noicherrybeans. Streaked spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna): a species Geoff owned in the early 1990s   After tough challenges in the late 1960s, Geoff Gradwell bounced back with a collection even more varied than before. Before too long, he was…

  • Swift move out of the soup

    Swift move out of the soup

    9th June 2018

    Photo: Getty Images/Arun Roisri. Good enough to eat: an edible-nest swiftlet sitting on a fragment of its nest   A massive demand for its nests might sound as though it would spell trouble for any wild bird. Yet, as Tony Tilford…

  • My golden years in foreign softbills

    My golden years in foreign softbills

    29th May 2018

    Photo: Terry Gonsolvis. Terry keeps 13 different species of foreign softbill, including rufous-bellied niltava (Niltava sundara). This flycatcher shows marked sexual dimorphism   There’s nothing better than seeing that long-awaited pairing up or chicks being reared and leaving the nest-box, says…