Foreign softbills

  • My early days with hummers

    My early days with hummers

    21st June 2019

    Green-crowned brilliant (above): the rich umber throat indicates that this is an immature bird, probably a male © Prosicky   These jewel-coloured flower-kissers captured the heart of the youthful GEOFF GRADWELL and he has remained smitten  Of all the…

  • Food fit for a honeyeater

    Food fit for a honeyeater

    15th May 2019

    Above: A male scarlet honeyeater forages high in the flowering trees. Photo: © Vaughan-Jones   So what does a scarlet honeyeater eat? The answer, says top Australian softbill man JOHN KEARNEY, is more complex than you might think. Continues…

  • We must be whiter than white

    We must be whiter than white

    17th February 2019

    Above: Chestnut-backed tanager: a fine softbill which has been bred recently by Peter Moore © M. Allport   Fans of keeping and breeding exotic softbills must never forget the songbird crisis in the East, warns GARY BRALSFORD   WITH…

  • The crimson mountaineer

    The crimson mountaineer

    4th December 2018

    Photo: © Wallcreeper: note the dusky-grey head and shoulders with crimson on the wing coverts and base of primary and secondary feathers   The wallcreeper is best known for scaling the Pyrenees and the Alps, but sadly is rarely seen…

  • The redstarts: an overview

    The redstarts: an overview

    15th October 2018

    Photo: © Prin. Male plumbeous water redstart. This delightful perky species favours streamsides, and in the wild is often found on the same stretches of river as the white-capped (see below), as well as dippers and forktails (Enicurus)  …

  • Progress with Asian softbills

    Progress with Asian softbills

    12th October 2018

    Photo: © Thuwangkawat. Red-flanked bluetail, also known as the orange-flanked bush-robin, kept by Geoff in the 1980s. Once placed in the thrush family, it is grouped with the Old World flycatchers   Geoff Gradwell has spoken about the numerous…

  • When paradise arrived in the North-East

    When paradise arrived in the North-East

    21st September 2018

    Photo: Tony Tilford. King bird-of-paradise: Geoff was lucky enough to get hold of a juvenile bird for his collection   In the 1970s, Geoff Gradwell’s collection of tropical hummingbirds, honeycreepers and tanagers was getting larger by the minute, but there…

  • A home for the heart

    A home for the heart

    17th September 2018

    Photo: © Wey. In the wild, the Mindanao bleeding-heart is found in the Philippines, notably the islands of Bohol and Mindanao   As Cotswold Wildlife Park looks for a suitable mate for its male Mindanao bleeding-heart dove, Chris Green explains…

  • Superb skulkers

    Superb skulkers

    10th September 2018

    Photo: © 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: © 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…