Thursday, 25 February 2010

New Bleeding Heart arrives and the Egrets have landed!

Craig, one of our two headkeepers has been on his travels again! Earlier this week he drove to Waddesdon Manor in Gloucester to exchange one of our male Bleeding Heart Doves for a beautiful female in order to introduce an important new bloodline into our breeding group in the Tropical House. These birds originate in the Philippines where they live in tropical rainforests. The name 'bleeding-heart' comes from the patch of red on the breast of these birds. Otherwise they are grey above and paler buff below.

Craig also travelled to the Cotswolds to collect five Little Egrets, kindly donated to us by Cotswold Wildlife Park. These birds occur naturally in Southern Europe, overwintering mainly in Africa and the Middle East. As this photo indicates they have mainly white plumage, with an area of blue-grey at the base of the bill. The sexes look alike. They grow long, white nuptial plumes when breeding, have blackish legs and unusual yellow toes.

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