- Yellow Casqued Hornbill
- White-Tailed Trogon
- Red-billed Hornbill
- Purple Throated Fruit Crow
- Plush Crested Jay
- Marianas Fruit Dove
- Jambu Fruit Dove
- Golden White-Eye
- Crested Coua
- Bali Mynah
- Azure-Winged Magpie
- African Pygmy Falcon
Yellow Casqued Hornbill
The Yellow Casqued Hornbill is native to West Africa. They are non-migratory and are rarely on the ground. They can live for about 15 years and enjoy eating palm fruits, ants, termites, centipedes, and small invertebrates. They are threatened by agriculture, hunting, logging, and climate change. There are only 3 birds of their species currently housed at zoos in the United States.
The White-tailed Trogon is found in tropical humid forests of the Chocó, ranging from Panama, through western Colombia, to western Ecuador. Our White- tailed Trogon is a relatively large trogon at 11 to 12 inches long. As most trogons, it is strongly sexually dimorphic. In the male the head and upper breast are dark blue (appears blackish in poor light), and the back is green, becoming bluer on the rump. The lower underparts are orange-yellow. The wings are black, vermiculated with white. The undertail is almost entirely white with only a very narrow black base on each feather. The complete eye-ring is pale bluish.They typically perch upright and motionless. Trogons are a fast flyer, but are reluctant to fly great distances. The female builds a nest in a termite mound or rotten tree, where she rears her 2-3 chicks. The female white-tailed trogon resembles the male, but has a grey back, head and breast, and rather indistinct black-and-white barring mainly to the inner webs of each tail feather (less on outer webs). The song of the white-tailed trogon consists of 15-20 very fast cow notes.
The Red-billed Hornbill might be familiar to you as it is the bird that is “Zazu” in The Lion King. Our male is Bugsy and our female is Pilar. They are native to Sub-Saharan Africa and they are a smaller species of hornbill. They are known for their large, downward curved red bill and long tail. These birds live in pairs or small groups within a permanent territory. The first two neck vertebrae are fused to support its large bill. The large bill is actually an adaptation for digging. When breeding, the female will seal herself into a tree with a mixture of mud/feces/fruit leftovers and the male will feed her through a slit left in the seal. She will eventually break out and reseal the cavity to assist the male in feeding the chicks. They can fly, but spend a large amount of time on the ground and their life span is about 15 years.
Purple Throated Fruit Crow
Listen closely for the low whistle calls of the Purple Throated Fruit crow (it sounds similar to “weewoo”). Though they look similar to crows, they are unrelated. They are actually related to Cotingas. They are native to parts of Central and South America and are known to travel in small groups. The males flare their purple throats and call to attract females. They are territorial and will attack intruders near their nest. They love to snack on blueberries and in the wild they will eat lots of fruits, berries, insects and small vertebrates.
Plush Crested Jay
The Plush Crested Jay belongs to the Corvidae family, which includes the crows and their many allies. It is found in central-southern South America in southwestern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northeastern Argentina, including southern regions of the Amazon Basin River systems, bordering the Pantanal. Plush-crested Jays feed by foraging, taking small invertebrate prey as well as vegetable matter like fruits and seeds. They will also plunder nests for eggs or nestlings. They are opportunistic feeders, also known to forage food scraps around human habitation and take varied prey items like small frogs and insects. The Plush-crested Jay is also known as the Urraca Jay. Urraca is the Spanish word for magpie and may be derived from the Latin word for "thievish."
These bold birds travel in groups of 10-12 individuals. They are the most common species of jay in South America. Larger than our common blue jay, they share with them an impressive range of calls. Food items, especially nuts are often hidden away to be consumed later. Sometimes the nuts are forgotten and sprout into a new plant. In this way, they help to keep the forest growing.
Marianas Fruit DoveThis exquisite dove is the national bird of Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas. It is endangered because of habitat destruction, introduced predators and competitive species, and tourism.
Jambu Fruit DoveIn spite of its brightly colored face and breast, the Jambu is still very well disguised. Its dull green back, tail, and wings blend with the foliage, hiding it from its enemies.
The Golden White-Eye is found on only two islands in the world, Saipan and Augigan of the Mariana Islands. Although this forest dweller has learned to adapt to other predators that have been introduced to the Mariana Islands, such as skinks, cats, and rats, it is severely threatened by the brown tree snake, as are all forest birds of the Marianas. Living in small groups consisting of the mating pair and their year’s offspring, the adult pair is very territorial. Their nest is a small two-inch diameter cup shaped nest that is tightly woven. As omnivores, they eat a variety of insects, berries and flowers. They are the only species within the genus Cleptornis. They are largely threatened by the introduction of the Brown Tree Snake. They only lay 2 eggs and parents both share chick rearing and incubation duties. They are the pollinator of endemic plant life.
We have two Crested Coua here at the Memphis Zoo: Cricket (male) and Katydid (female). They are endemic to Madagascar with a life span up to 15 years in captivity. They are omnivorous and eat fruits, insects, and small reptiles. They sunbath regularly, ruffling their feathers and dropping their wings to absorb the heat in sunny areas There are 5 species endemic to Madagascar, and only 3 are arboreal including the crested Coua. They are not the strongest fliers, but are built more for nimble treetop acrobatics and gliding between trees. Quick moving and agile, they use their long tails to maintain balance as they run and hop along thin branches. The crested coua has striking brilliant blue colored bare areas on its face. Their chicks also have a remarkable fluorescent marks inside their mouths-this makes it easier for feeding parents to find the chick’s mouth inside dark nest. Couas are common throughout their range and live in forests, savannas, and brush land areas up to 3,000 feet. They feed on insects, fruits, small lizards and snails.
From the mountain regions along the north coast of Bali comes the Bali Mynah. Their life span is about 7.5 years on average in the wild and 25 years in captivity. Their diet includes insects, fruit, worms, and occasionally small reptiles. This threatened species of mynah is found in the arid regions of scrub and low forest. They are monogamous, but will gather to feed in flocks of over 20. While feeding, one bird will stand guard and, in the event of danger, will warn the others with shill cries.
During the 1960s and 1970s, several hundred birds were legally brought to the US and Europe to both zoos and private collectors. These birds and their descendants make up the approximately 1,000 birds that live in zoos today. They have been adopted as the island of Bali’s official bird. The beauty of the birds has attracted people in the cage-bird trade. In Denpasar, Bali's capital, there is a thriving bird market. Having a Bali mynah is seen as a higher status symbol.
Mango is our male Axure-winged Magpie. He is known to be very vocal and can sometimes be heard purring. This species inhabits coniferous forests in Eastern Asia. They are in the Corvid (crow) family and are very intelligent. They are omnivorous and love to snack on nuts, berries and bugs. They are a flock animal and group in family units. Their altricial young need prolonged parental care as they are featherless when hatched.
Like other magpies, the nimble, azure-winged magpies are survivors. They can hang upside down or flutter easily into tall trees. These agile birds are sure-footed on the ground and graceful in the air, using their long wedge-shaped tails for flight control. They weave and dodge between branches, thus escaping from angry farmers or other dangers.