Foreign softbills

  • Pretty in pink: the carmine bee-eater

    Pretty in pink: the carmine bee-eater

    29th January 2018

    Photo: © Scharf. The northern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicus) is easily distinguished by its dark throat from its sister species, Merops nubicoides, which boasts a shocking pink throat  Even among the myriad dazzling species of Africa, this bee-eater stands out with…

  • Dutch softbill spectacular

    Dutch softbill spectacular

    18th December 2017

    Photo: Rick van Groningen. Elaborately decorated showcases and aviaries are the order of the day at the Bird Experience Oirschot in Holland  Each year, the Bird Experience Oirschot in Holland puts on an extraordinary event that showcases its members’ softbills in…

  • Sword-billed hummingbird: the beak that’s longer than the body

    Sword-billed hummingbird: the beak that’s longer than the body

    13th December 2017

    Photo: © Chancasana. Giant hummingbird: on a quick view, this bird can be mistaken for a swallow! Here is a bird that has to be seen to be believed, says BILL NAYLOR, so why have zoos stopped keeping the sword-billed hummingbird…

  • A trim and elegant Asiatic flycatcher

    A trim and elegant Asiatic flycatcher

    29th November 2017

    Photo: © Male (left) rufous-bellied niltava. Note that the cock’s underparts are variably coloured between individuals, ranging from rich yellow to orange.  The flycatchers of the Orient comprise some of the planet’s most desirable softbills. Once, the most familiar in aviculture…

  • Breeding the butterfly bird

    Breeding the butterfly bird

    28th November 2017

    Photo: © Nothing like it: two hoopoes show off their unique plumage pattern  Perhaps the ultimate in crested birds, the exotic hoopoe is perfectly possible to breed in straightforward aviary conditions, reports German softbill expert THOMAS WENDT. UNTIL about 15 years ago,…

  • Softbills in September

    Softbills in September

    27th November 2017

    Photo: Gary Bralsford. A new species Gary has acquired to try to breed from next year: fine-spotted woodpecker (Campethera punctuligera)  With his breeding season nearly over, GARY BRALSFORD takes stock of some splendid highlights – and takes the opportunity to…

  • Softbills: Summer’s over

    Softbills: Summer’s over

    27th November 2017

    Above: White-fronted bee-eaters are stunning even by the standards of their family. This and three other bee-eater species are thriving at a very well-run private set-up that Gary reports on, © Zoonar GmbH As the weather starts to turn, GARY BRALSFORD…

  • Softbills: July breeding update

    Softbills: July breeding update

    21st November 2017

    Photo: Gary Bralsford. Gary’s royal starlings at their nest-box. The outer covering is cork bark   The action’s coming thick and fast in GARY BRALSFORD’s set-up, where his new birdroom extension is now finished, and the inhabitants are celebrating their accommodation…

  • Softbills: August breeding round-up

    Softbills: August breeding round-up

    21st November 2017

    Photo: Gary Bralsford. Gary’s breeding season has gone from strength to strength, particularly with his royal starlings. So far, the parents have been good feeders  As late summer approaches, Gary Bralsford and his fellow softbill enthusiasts are starting to feel it’s…

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