As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Eggcellent news! ‘Pitta’ patter of tiny chick feet at manor is a first for UK

Staff at Waddesdon Manor are celebrating after a rare bird in their avaries successfully produced a baby chick for the first time in the UK.

The Javan banded pitta, generally found in Indonesia, is a brightly coloured bird often referred to as ‘a jewel of the forest’.

The pittas first came to the aviaries in 2007, the same year that they were bred in a zoo in Germany.

The pair have been producing fertile eggs at the aviary for four years, however this is the first time a chick has managed to survive its most vulnerable period – the first week after birth.

Gavin Harrison, a senior aviculturist at Waddesdon Manor aviaries, said: “We have undertaken a process of removing, hatching and incubating the pitta’s eggs and this is the first time we have achieved success.

“Each year we have changed something to improve our chances.

“This time we have changed the bird’s diet and increased the time between feeds so we think that is what made the difference.

“It is quite a thrill for us to know that we have a new addition to the pitta family.”

The banded pitta is a species that is increasingly at risk of becoming endangered, particularly after the species was split into three different groups: Javan, Malayan and Bornean.

Gavin said: “There are two reasons why the Javan banded pitta is at risk.

“Firstly in Indonesia they are often caught and used as part of the illegal bird trade.

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