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Public Aviaries


Most zoos have displays of birds, but the number of parrots in them seems to be declining. Many have very rare birds that are not displayed because they need privacy to breed. Still, zoos are well worth a visit. I have visited many zoos and aviaries and it is clear some are much better than others. I have included my impressions of some I have visited. These impressions are strictly my own opinion. I have tried to include zoos and aviaries with caiques in their collections, but it is far from a complete list. 

Beardsly Zoological Gardens. 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, CT. Participates in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program.

Birds International Inc. This is not a public aviary, but it is reputed to have the largest parrot collection in the world. It is located in the Manila, capital of the Philippines. It breeds, sells and ships parrots all over the world. It is one of the few aviaries breeding the nearly extinct Spix macaw. 

Brandywine Zoo. This is one of the few zoos in the United States exhibiting a black-headed caique. 

Brevard County Zoo. Melbourne, Brevard County, FL. It possesses one thing I really enjoyed, a walk through parrot aviary. This was only done for their Australasian parrots, and includes more than just the standard lories. Many of the birds in the aviary are tame, especially the cockatiels and cockatoos. Most of the birds may be encountered in a good bird shop, but here you get to see them free and flying about you. I was most impressed by the Eclectus. This zoo participates in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program and these may be seen in its South American section. (Visited 2001)

Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York City, New York. Considered one of the premier zoos in America, but disappointing if you are looking for parrots. The only parrots I saw on public display during my visit was a pair of black palm cockatoos. It is a participant in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program. (Visited 1991)

Busch Gardens, Busch Boulevard, Tampa, Florida. At one time, this was a Mecca for parrot lovers with many first breedings to its credit. It was among the earliest to breed caiques. There is not a caique to be seen now. It still offers bird shows, but now the raptors are more popular than parrots. They sold off the lory collection in 1994, but have since re-installed one of the popular walk-through aviaries where visitors may feed lories nectar. 

Central Park Zoo. 830 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. Participant in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program.

Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno. 894 West Belmont Avenue, Fresno, CA. Participant in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program.

Jurong BirdPark. Singapore. Claims to be the largest bird park in Asia. Has section called Parrot Paradise that opened in 1998. I hope to visit sometime.

Loro Parque. Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. This is the largest and finest public parrot collection in the world. Well worth the visit if you love parrots. When I visited, there were three varieties of caiques on display. If you have to choose one zoo to visit to view parrots, this is the one. (Visited 1998)

Lowry Park Zoo. Tampa, FL.

Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi. This institution has a zoological and botanical garden associated with it—the Parque Zoobotãnico located in Belém, Brazil.  It was founded in 1866 and is devoted to all aspects of Amazonia. While the Parque Zoobotãnico is small, I found it one of the most charming zoos that I have ever visited. One reason may be that while observing the caiques the park’s veterinarian introduced himself and gave me a behind the scenes view. This is the only place where I have ever seen caiques caged with other bird species. In the cage were 3 green-thighed caiques (P. l. leucogaster), 3 Brazilian hawkheads (Deroptyus accipitrinus fuscifrons), a single white-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris versicolurus), 2 Spix’s guans (Penelope jacquacu), and 2 razor-billed currassows (Mitu mitu). It seemed clear that the caiques were the dominant parrot species. Even the larger hawkheads allowed them to perch on the most desirable perches. All these birds were housed in an enclosure with an concrete floor that was about 2 meters wide, 10 meters long and 2 ½ meters tall including a double doored entry vestibule.  Half of the cage was covered with corrugated tin. There seemed to be only one box suitable for roosting. The veterinarian explained that the birds had to be placed together because of the lack of funds and that he would really like to provide them with separate cages so they could breed. (Visited September, 2003.) 

National Aviary. Pittsburgh, PA. I first visited this aviary in the 1960’s when it was part of the Pittsburgh zoo system well before it became the National Aviary in 1993. Even though it is now the National Aviary, it receives no funding from the Federal government. It boasts more than 500 bird species. I revisited the aviary in the winter of 1999. It has grown in size, but still remains compact. There are few parrots in its collection, mostly the more popular large parrots. There are four free flying yellow thighed caiques in the large Wetlands walk through exhibit. Seeing the caiques flying in this large enclosure is impressive. They exhibited good flying skills unlike those of my flighted pet birds. Look for them in the metal rafters. The National Aviary is a participant in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program. (Visited 2000)

National Zoo. Washington, D.C. Not noted for parrots. When I visited, it had black palm cockatoos, scarlet macaws, green wing macaws and an errant lory. In my questioning of an attendant, he told me that they once had many more parrots but they all developed an illness and died. Only one lory survived, and when its mate died, it became lonely and learned to move from cage to cage by squeezing through the strung monofilament material used for the cages. It had a good collection of cranes and a nice kiwi earthworm feeding demonstration.

NiederRheinPark Plantaria. Kevelaer, Germany. This is more a botanical garden than a zoo, but its South American house contains an aviary specializing in South American bird species. Caiques are included in the collection. 

Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park, 1301 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL. Administers the Population Management Program of the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation. This includes the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program.

Palmitos Park. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain. This small pleasnt park has a very nice collection of birds. I saw only one black-headed caique. (Visited, 1998).

Paradise Park. Hayle, Cornwall, UK. This is the home of the World Parrot Trust.

Parc des Oiseaux. Villars-les-Dombes, France. Located near Lyon.

Parque das Aves Tropicana. At the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park of Brazil. This park was founded by Dennis Croukamp in August 1994 with the aid of the Brazilian government. It specializes in the birds of Brazil but includes exotic tropical birds from all over the world. During my visit in September 2003, there were 8 green-thighed caiques (P. l. leucogaster) in one enclosure. The enclosure was about 1 meter wide, 3 meters deep and 3 meters from the ground to the top in the front sloping down toward the back. The front of the cage faced a walk-through aviary and the back half was covered. As was the case seen at the Sao Paulo zoo, these birds did not appear to be aggressive toward one and other. This bird park is very well maintained and well worth a visit. (Visited September, 2003.)

Parrot Jungle. Miami, Florida. A solid parrot collection, the best in the United States. The original Parrot Jungle closed in November, 2002, but reopened on Watson Island in Biscayne Bay.

Quai de la Mégisserie. If you get homesick for your birds when in Paris, there is a two block stretch of pet and plant shops you can visit just a bit east of the Louvre along the Seine.

San Diego Zoo. San Diego, California. This is an icon of American aviculture. Much of the pioneer work in aviculture occurred here. Worth the visit, although in recent years it has reduced its bird displays, especially of parrots. The reason I was given was that displays of other animals draw more people and, hence, more revenue. Look for the very rare and beautiful Tahitian blue lories. 

Santa Ana Zoo, 1801 East Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, CA. Participant in the P. l. xanthomeria Population Management Program.

Tracy Aviary, Salt Lake City, UT. Established in 1938, this is the oldest aviary in the United States. This small aviary includes a few uncommon species such as the Greater Vasa (Coracopsis vasa) and the rare Cuban Amazon (Amazona leucocephala) in its collection. It also has a lory feeding enclosure that has become a popular staple at many zoos. Do not look for a caique though. A bit run down, but a nice quiet place to visit. (Visited 2002)

Umgeni River Bird Park, Durban, South Africa. This aviary breeds a number of rare psittacine birds and suffered an armed robbery August 1, 2002 in which a number of them were stolen.

Vogelpark, Walsrode, Germany. Claims to be the largest park in the world devoted to birds and I believe it. Many rare and uncommon species of parrots are on display. Clean and beautifully landscaped. This aviary is only open in summer. Well worth a visit. Unfortunately, the birds are only labeled with their German names. I wish they would have provided their scientific ones too. There is an excellent hotel adjacent to the park. If you plan on visiting, explore their web site first. (Visited 1997)

Vogelpark/Avifauna, Alphen on Rhine, Netherlands. A pleasant bird park about an hour’s train or bus ride from Amsterdam. A large collection of parrots; none I would consider rare or uncommon. They had a black-headed caique at the time of my visit. Has a sizable collection of hornbills. (Visited 1997)

Yuen Po Street. This is the famous bird street in Hong Kong. It is located in the Mong Kok section of Kowloon. Here you can buy birds and supplies from nearly 70 stalls. During my visit I only found one stall selling parrots other than budgies and cockatiels. There were African grays and a couple of Amazons for sale. Most parrots were of Indo-Asian origin, i.e., several different kinds of lory and lorikeet. This street is better known for song birds; many of which I had never seen before. The most fascinating thing for me were the hand made cages. They varied in price according to how well made they were. They were fashioned of bamboo strips fitted into beautifully stained carved bases. Most stalls sold accoutrements for these cages. These included finely made matched porcelain feed and water bowls and pairs of delicately hand carved decorative elements of wood or jade. The price of these depended on the degree of craftsmanship. Unfortunately, these cages are impractical for parrots since they would reduce them to toothpicks in a few minutes. Proud bird owners bring their birds to this street to give them an outing. Most were songbirds, but I saw one person with a sulfur crested cockatoo. As an aside, there is a feral population of these cockatoos on Hong Kong Island. (Visited 2001.)

Zoológico de São Paulo. The São Paulo Zoo is one of the world's largest zoos and has a display of green-thighed caiques (P. l. leucogaster). In fact, when I visited in September of 2003 there were thirteen of them in one cage. Knowing that caiques tend to be aggressive I was a bit surprised. Yet after observing them for a good two to three hours I did not seen any aggression even though one pair copulated quite frequently. A lack of aggression has been attributed to this subspecies but this may also be the result of the group being a single family cluster. The front of the cage was about 2 meters wide and about 3 meters tall and extended to the ground. It was about 4 meters deep and partially covered. There were two horizontal roost/nest boxes. As to their diet, I saw they were eating some brown colored pellets. I noticed that one of the birds was a bit different from the rest; it had a single white primary feather instead of the normal dark blue on one side but not the other. The people visiting the cage were very amused by the common name used for them in Brazil. It is Marianinha which translates to English as Little Mary. (Visited September, 2003.)

Additional aviaries and zoos with caiques in their collection may be found in the International Species Information System (ISIS). You must enter your name and give a password to gain access to the data pages. 

A list of aviaries in the United Kingdom may be found at the Zoos UK website.

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