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by Pat and Jim Taylor (2000, Vol. 23 #1)

The first time I saw a Blue-crown was in Holland at the European Lory Symposium. Jos Hubers put together a large display cage with a number of species of hanging parrots. The blue-crowns were strikingly beautiful. As I knew of no hanging parrots in Canada, I never expected to keep them.

Blue-crowned Hanging parrots (Loriculus galgulus) are a small parrot found in Southeast Asia; Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore and Sumatra. They are 12 cm. long and weigh in at 24 grams. A description taken from Forshaw’s Parrots of the World follows: Male: general plumage green, slightly paler on underparts; crown deep blue; triangular patch of golden yellow on mantle; yellow band across lower back; throat, rump and under tail-coverts scarlet; under wing-coverts and undersides of wings and tail greenish-blue; bill black; iris dark brown; legs buff-brown. Female: duller with more yellowish underparts; lacks red throat and yellow band across lower back; blue on crown and yellow on mantle only slightly indicated. Immatures: general plumage dull green, feathers with narrow dusky margins; forehead grey tinged with blue; blue crown and yellow mantle absent; rump green margined with dull red; throat green; bill pale horn-coloured; legs flesh-brown.” The chicks take at least year to develop adult colours.

One day in the spring of 1998 we received a call from a lady living on one of the Gulf Islands. She had two pairs of blue-crowns and was looking for someone to baby sit the birds for three months of the summer while she went to the USA. As an incentive, we could keep any chicks produced. As we are lory breeders we figured that they would be minimal trouble so we said yes.

The bird arrived in two 16” cube wire cages along with one 4”x4”x24” nest box. We were told that we would have the birds till September so we kept the two pairs in the original cages. We immediately encountered two problems with blue-crowns. First their droppings begin to smell very quickly and second, the male feeds the female by leaving a trail of regurgitated food on the perches. This also tends to smell. As we were keeping the birds in our nursery this situation became a big problem. As we have a large number of birds, we were finding it difficult to clean these two cages often enough so we were looking forward to the return of the owner to retrieve her birds. As it turned out we kept on getting phone calls informing us of delays in her return to Canada. The delays continued into February of 1999. One pair went to nest twice during this time though all of the eggs were infertile. The owner finally promised to return in June of 1999 to pick up the birds. As we then had a date to work with, we decided to move both pairs into our aviary.

In one of our buildings we had available a 5’ x 2.5’ x 4’ high plywood cage sitting on a metal tray with a drain in the centre plumbed to the sewer system. We put small perches into the cage and placed two 5” x 5” x 14” tall nestboxes on the front of the cage with entrance holes through the wall of the cage. The entrances were 4” from the top of the cage. This cage had an outside flight attached but we blocked the exit hole because we moved the birds out to the aviary in March and the temperature was too cold to let the birds go outside. This cage is also equipped with a sprinkler system, which comes in handy when cleaning. We moved the birds into the building and turned up the heat to 20 degrees C.

We were told by a breeder in the USA that blue-crowns require plants in order to breed. We placed a hanging basket containing a large fern in the centre of the cage. We also placed four ferns in hangers on the side walls. Within four weeks of the move both pairs were on eggs. We were surprised to find that four of five eggs with the first pair and three of four eggs with the second were fertile. The seven eggs hatched in 20 days and both pairs looked after the chicks very well. We were able to band one clutch with AACC size L bands.

When the birds were in the house we had been feeding Aves Lorinectar, fruits and vegetables. In the larger cages we set up six dishes: one dish with water, two dishes of nectar, a dish of Lory Life Powder (a dry lory diet), a dish of canarygrass seed and a dish of fruits and vegetables. The parents eat a large quantity of the seed when feeding chicks but mostly ignore it other times.

The chicks fledged at five weeks though it takes many more weeks for them to become strong fliers. The parents continued to feed for a number of weeks after fledging. With eleven birds, it was nearly impossible to keep plants in the cage. The oldest pair went back to nest and raised three more chicks. We finally ran out of plants to sacrifice and when the oldest pair went to nest for the third time with no plants in the cage, all of the eggs were infertile. This tends to indicate that plants are necessary for breeding success. A breeder in the USA has told us that only one pair will go to nest in a colony setup. The younger pair has never gone to nest again which seems to substantiate what we were told.

During the summer we opened the hole to the outside and the birds enjoyed some sunlight and fresh air. We allowed the birds to go outside into the fall but one chick stayed outside on a cool night and we found it dead in the morning. We now chase all of the birds inside and lock them in for the night.

The owner has not contacted us since last spring so we assume that she does not want her birds anymore. We are arranging to bring a few pairs from Europe next spring to increase the gene pool. There has been much interest in purchasing pairs but until they develop their adult colours it will be difficult to pair them. We are investigating having the birds DNA sexed but trying to gain a large enough blood sample from a 25g bird is not easy and is potentially life threatening so we have not done this.

If you are able to provide proper housing, warm temperature and plenty of edible plants, blue-crowned hanging parrots would make a beautiful addition to your bird collection.


by Val Perry (2000, Vol. 23 #1)

In 1993 a bird fancier friend of mine purchased three pairs of Goldie's lories, one for me and two for him. The birds were wild caught and had quarantine bands on their legs. They were all to be housed with me until my friend had completed cages for his pairs. Within four weeks of receiving the birds, two of the hens had died. Because of the sudden deaths I did not want to replace them right away. The one remaining pair was eventually set up for breeding in our birdhouse that contained 800 birds from finches to macaws. The cage was rather small, 18” long, 10” high with a budgie sized nest box attached to the side. They took a few months to produce two eggs one of which was fertile. When the chick was two days old my friend appeared at my door to claim his pair as he had sold them to someone else. He did not want the spare male. I quickly set up a cage on a heating pad and started hand feeding.

Amazingly enough, the chick survived. I had been using a standard hand feeding formula that I used for any and all of my birds with great success. Adult birds on eggs were fed ZuPreem monkey chow and kernel corn that they would eventually feed to their chicks. Whenever I pulled for hand rearing I would feed the same thing, ZuPreem monkey chow and Heinz baby corn, making the transition easy for the chicks. All of my lories were fed ZuPreem monkey chow and kernel corn daily as well as sugar water with powdered vitamins along with some fruit. The Goldie's enjoyed a piece of chicken now and then.

I kept the Goldie's chick in the house, as a pet until it was 18 months old at which time I placed her with one of the spare males. They went to nest almost immediately. I normally leave chicks in the nest until banding and then pull for hand feeding but I have banded and returned the chick to the nest with no problems. I never leave them in the nest longer than five weeks as they become too wild and difficult to hand feed.

This pair produced twice each year until I lost the male. I kept back a male from the original pair and now have mother/son and father/daughter pairs, both of which continue to produce for the pet trade.

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by Pat and Jim Taylor - Taylormade Aviaries (2000, Vol. 23 #1)

The first time I saw yellow-bibbed lories, Lorius chlorocercus, was in Holland at Jos Huber’s aviary. They were stunning birds even for lories. A description taken from Forshaw’s Parrots of the World follows:

“Adults: general plumage red; forehead, lores, crown and occiput black; bluish-black markings on each side of neck; yellow band across upper breast; violet thighs; green wings; bend of wing white variably marked with blue; under wing-coverts blue; broad rose-red band across underside of primaries; tail red broadly tipped above with green and below with dusky-yellow; bill orange-red with a dusky base to upper mandible; iris orange; legs dark grey.
Immatures: no black markings on sides of neck; little or no yellow across upper breast; thighs violet variably marked with green; bill brownish; iris brown.”

The length is 24 cm and the weight is 150g. The birds originate in the Solomon Islands except for the island of Bougainville.

In early 1997, Jan Roger van Oosten from Seattle offered us a chance to join the Solomon Islands Parrot Consortium. This would enable us to obtain Solomon Island lories as part of a captive-breeding program. We put our names in for three pairs of the first birds exported as part of the consortium and received the birds in the spring of 1998. One female was lost in the quarantine leaving two pairs and a spare male.

We placed each pair into an indoor/outdoor flight. The indoor cage is a 2’x 2’ x 4’ high plastic lined plywood cage sitting on a plastic washtub plumbed into the sewer system. A 20” x 20” x 8” wide ‘L’ style nestbox is mounted on the side and a set of three Crock Loc feed dishes is accessed from the front of the cage. There is a sprinkler mounted inside the cage to wash food and droppings from the sides. The outside wire flight is 6’ x 3’ x 9’ high with perches mounted close to the top. There is a clear fiberglass roof over the flights and a sprinkler system installed. The floor is gravel and each flight has an access door and a tray for feeding fresh fruit.

Almost immediately one pair went to nest resulting in two fertile eggs. We hoped to parent raise the chicks so the eggs were left with the parents to hatch and raise. When the first egg hatched after 25 days the parents trampled the chick. The second egg was immediately removed and placed under our foster mom, a green-nape lory. Our foster mom “Scarlet” will feed any chick that I give to her and shehas raised many lory chicks for us. Scarlet fed the chick for five weeks at which time we took over as she seems to get bored with feeding and the chicks go hungry. We hand-fed the chick using KT Exact hand feed formula until it weaned at 10 weeks. The same pair went to nest after a month and the same thing happened. They managed to kill the first chick and we pulled the second just before hatching. We took no chances with the third clutch and artificially incubated and fostered the single chick that hatched. On sexing we have two females and one male. The chicks are quite tame but tend to be nippy. We tried to put all three together but fighting ensued immediately.

We feed our lories twice a day. The morning feeding consists of Aves Lorinectar from Holland mixed with a small amount of bee pollen to thin the nectar. We also give fresh fruit, whatever is in season. In the evening we puree banana, apple, pear, and add to the mixture Avico Lory Life powder, CEDE egg food and Prime vitamins. After thinning with warm water we feed to all of our lories and to some of our other hookbills. We feed all of our birds inside the buildings to prevent freezing in the winter. These buildings are kept between 10 and 30 degrees C. all year around.

We are hoping to be able to swap chicks with other consortium members and set up additional pairs. We would also like to have pairs to place in Canada and expand the consortium in this country. The consortium is importing other species from the Solomons. These include Cardinal, Palm, Meek’s and Duchess lories.

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