Sunday, July 26, 2009

McNeil Avian Center Part Two

The Philadelphia Zoo's new McNeil Avian Center - home to over 100 exotic birds from around the world.

A Crimson-Rumped Toucanette from South America. They were not at all afraid of all the humans with cameras and flashbulbs. When he flies, you can see the red rump patch. And check out the cute little blue cheek patches:

This is the Blue Breasted Kingfisher from Africa:

There was also a Micronesian Kingfisher that is extinct in the wild, but the Philadelphia Zoo is trying to breed it. It was so shy that it was hidden behind too many branches to get a good picture. Here is a photo from the Internet showing what they look like:

photo provided by

My fingers are crossed that the Zoo gets a good breeding program for this bird in peril. Like other bird species in Guam, the Guam Micronesian Kingfisher (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina) was decimated after the arrival of the introduced brown tree snake. Faced with imminent extinction, Guam and several research and conservation institutions, including the Philadelphia Zoo, captured the last 29 kingfishers between 1984 and 1986 to establish a captive breeding population in the hopes of re-introducing birds to the wild someday. Recently, a captive breeding population has been established on Guam.

Here is a pair of Collared Finchbills from southeast Asia:

" Dude, seriously. You need to trim your toenails!"

This amazing bird (about the size of a wild turkey) is a Yellow Knobbed Curassow from South America. He had jet black curly feathers on his crown and will eventually develop a yellow knob at the base of his bill (hence the name):

The Avian Center conducts a Flight Show twice daily with trained birds flying around Bird Lake outside the Center. The Sun Conure (seen below) can be found in most of South and Central America as well as parts of Mexico. In the wild Sun Conures are friendly, peaceful birds and seldom fight living together in groups of twenty or more, even during the mating season, and feeding on various seeds, fruits, and insects. The Flight Show included these Conures making circuits around the lake and swooping over the heads of guests. Colorful and cheerful, they were a joy to observe. You may have read in the news that one of the juvenile Conures made a break for it last week during one of the Flight Shows. Fortunately, he was spotted in Fairmount Park and quickly returned to the Zoo within 4 days.

And this is a Double Yellow Head Amazon Parrot who also took part in the Flight Show. He landed not 2 feet in front of me on a fence post and I got this picture of his face. Doesn't he look puzzled to see me?

"Whatcha' doin' out here in the sweltering heat, Beth?"

More pictures and birds of the McNeil Avian Center in the next post.


Susan Gets Native said...

Birds, birds, birds!

Matt said...

Thank you very much for the names of some of the birds— I visited the Center a couple of months ago, but had neglected to take names down for the species. Your blog is great, it's always fun to meet other birders.