Above: Rákos’ House at Prague Zoo is home to two species of blue macaws: the hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), above, and the Endangered Lear’s or indigo macaw
© Shutterstock.com/AnnaElizabeth photography


THIS YEAR’S AVICULTURAL Society’s (AS) Europe trip is to the Czech Republic, taking in four top venues over five days: Prague Zoo, the Exota Olomouc exhibition, Zlin Zoo and Brno Zoo.

The October tour will first visit Prague Zoo, with its newly refurbished parrot house (see C&AB, November 27). Rákos’ House contains many rare and endangered parrots, including the Lear’s macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), and the Jamaican yellow-billed amazon (Amazona collaria), for which Prague Zoo keeps the studbook. The birds are displayed in eight environments that correspond almost perfectly to the habitats where they live in the wild.

The concept is primarily the work of Antonín Vaidl, the curator of bird breeding. He said: “We had no opportunity to learn from another zoo, because we couldn’t find a building with a similar intention for parrots, so we worked from our personal experience with breeding and observing parrots in the wild.”

The biennial Exota Olomouc show, on day two, ranks among the largest exhibitions of its kind in Europe. Visitors will see 4,000 exhibited birds, as well as display aviaries and trade stands. The exhibition is not only dedicated to the presentation of exotic birds but aims to increase the public’s awareness of the state of ecology.

Guided tours of Zlin and Brno zoos’ extensive avian collections are planned for days three and four. Zlin Zoo has an excellent tropical hall, where numerous bird species fly free among the visitors.

“The AS has been arranging fantastic trips to European zoos since 2006, and this year’s avian extravaganza will be no different,” said Chris Green, the AS European trip coordinator. “You don’t have to be a member; if you fancy a long weekend away with a bunch of friendly like-minded people, sign up and come along!”

Among the birds at Brno Zoo are the Endangered red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), Near Threatened Sclater’s crowned pigeon (Goura sclaterii) and Vulnerable Steller’s sea-eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus).

October 8-12, 2020

Flights from Manchester, Gatwick and Bristol

Hand-luggage only. Hold baggage charged extra

£540 per person (single supplement £165), B&B basis. Excl. Exota Olomouc/zoos entrance

£250 deposit by April 1; balance due July 1

More info: Karli Milsom (Howard Travel) (01225 777 227, email: karli@howardtravel.com) or Chris Green (07760 140 128).

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