Breeding in my Aviaries
In year 2000 I bred 10 species of Foreign Birds, and 57 canaries, as well as a few Budgies and Bantams.
The foreign species bred were: Senegal Parrot, Green Cheeked Conure, Nanday Conure, Spreo Starling, Purple Glossy Starling, Red Billed (Chinese Silky) Starling, White Shouldered Starling, Peruvian Gold Billed Ground Doves, Diamond Doves, and Ringneck Doves. Some of these are pictured elsewhere on the site.
Foreign Bird Association Certificate of Merit for Notable Breeding
The Foreign Bird Association awarded me a Certificate of Merit for Notable Breeding with regard to the breeding of the Red-billed Starlings and the Peruvian Gold-billed Ground Doves. Also, a Breeding Certificate regarding other foreign birds, which were successfully raised to maturity.


Breeding notes: Purple Glossy Starling, Lineolated Parakeets, Senegal Parrots, Ringneck doves, Mexican House Finches, Spreo Starling, Canaries, Malibar or Chestnut-tailed Starling, Pennant's Parakeet, Peruvian Gold -Billed Ground Doves, San Blas Jay, Red Billed or Silky Starling, Crested Bronzewing Pigeons, Nanday Conures, Kakarikis, Common Mynah, Diamond Dove, Amethyst Starling, Chinese Painted Quail, Pallas Rosefinch and Grosbeak Starlings.


(Lamprotornis purpureus)

07/06/2001: This pair which bred for me last year have laid their first egg.
24/06/2001: Although I have not checked the nest box, young are evidently in there, as the parents are both very excited and carrying live food to the box.
03/07/2001: A nest inspection revealed that only one of the two eggs laid have hatched. The youngster was quite large and quite close to developing his feathers.
13/07/2001: Unfortunately, the youngster was found dead after the spate of thunderstorms.

Summary: This pair of birds only nested the once as they did the year before.


Senegal Parrot

A first egg laid on the 27th December 00. An inspection a few days later showed three eggs. This pair have bred for me regularly over the last few years.
Thirty two days after the first egg was laid, all three eggs hatched together. As the young are all the same size, instead of the usual staggered sizes, there is every chance that all three will be reared.

11/03/2001: The three babies are growing well and just beginning to feather up.
18/03/2001:The three babies are fine and have been removed for hand rearing.

Summary: All three babies were successfully hand reared and proved to be delightfully tame and playful. They were all re-homed very easily. The pair, however, did not nest for a second time.

Ringneck Doves

First nest of the season! Eggs are fertile.

28/02/2001: 2nd pair now have nest with eggs.
11/03/2001: One baby hatched in nest one and being fed well.
18/03/2001: 2nd pair have one baby too. Third pair on eggs. Oldest baby sat on edge of nest.
26/03/2001: Baby count now up to three.
28/04/2001: Five now fledged.

Summary: These free-breeding doves continued to breed throughout the season. The total bred being 19.



Mexican House Finches

(Carpodacus mexicanus)

A nest was discovered on the 23rd, and the first egg laid on the 24th February. This is the birds first attempt and mine with this species.
They are housed in an inside flight and offered a variety of seeds and Softbill mixes. Should hatch around the 10th March.

: First baby hatched from three eggs. One egg looks infertile so possibly one more to hatch. This is a first in my aviaries.
18/03/2001: Unfortunately, the single chick was found outside the nest and chilled. No doubt they w ill nest again. Watch this space!
27/03/2001: I am pleased to report that the pair have commenced laying again. The first egg of their second attempt was laid today.
07/04/2001: A further nest inspect ion revealed a full clutch of four eggs.

12/04/2001: A Nest inspection revealed that two babies have hatched, and that the parents are feeding them.
28/04/2001: One baby surviving and starting to feather up.
06/05/2001: The single baby has now fledged. I am also pleased to report that the second pair have now nested, though their nest is in such a position, that checking will become impossible.
The second pair's eggs were infertile. The first pair have nested again and have young in the nest.

07/06/2001: Pair one again failed to rear. However, both pairs are now sitting on nests, but neither have been inspected.
13/07/2001: A further two have now fledged, bringing the total to three successfully reared.

Summary: The total bred was three. They have all moulted out as fine healthy birds but unfortunately they are all males.


Spreo or Superb Starling

(Lamprotornis superbus):

8/02/2001: Despite the sub zero night temperatures, the pair of Spreo Starlings have laid their first egg. Although supplied with a subst antial hollow log in the inside flight, they have chosen an exposed nest box on the outside. Expected hatch date 14th March.

18/03/2001: Eggshells on the aviary floor and the parents carrying food to nest box confirms a hatch. Have not checked nest box yet though.
26/03/2001: On checking the box there is a single baby hatched.
07/04/2001: Unfortunately the single chick did not survive, being found dead on the aviary floor. No doubt this pair will soon lay again.
12/04/2001: They are now sat on a further three eggs.
28/04/2001: Two young in nest box.

06/05/2001: Have not checked the nest box again, but the parents continue to eagerly carry food inside, so I presume all is well.
17/05/2001: A single youngster has fledged, and was well able to fly the length of the aviary on day one!
28/05/2001: Disappointing that the young Spreo only su rvived for a few days after fledging. However, on checking the nest box there are already four eggs being incubated.
07/06/2001: All four eggs hatched. But only one chick has survived past five days. I also have a colony of Spreos consisting of two 1999 bred and two 2000 bred. I am pleased to report that they have also commenced egg laying and four eggs have been found in the nest box.
24/06/2001: The last youngster was reared to near fledgling stage, but seems to have disappeared completely! This pair however have already laid in another nest box. The eggs in the young colony proved to be infertile.
03/07/2001: Surprisingly they have only laid two eggs on this occasion.
13/07/2001: A single youngster hatched, but they did not feed it beyond a few days.
01/08/2001: Pair one have a youngster again. The colony are also on eggs.
15/08/2001: Pair one did not rear their baby past a few days, but are on eggs again, this being their sixth attempt this year. The colony eggs again proved infertile.
10/09/2001: The pair's eggs were infertile, but have surprised me by making their 7th attempt at nesting by laying again. The colony have also laid eggs again.
04/10/2001: Both clutches failed.

Summary: This was an interesting year for the Spreos! The adult pair nested 7 times. One female in the colony nested twice and the other female nested once. From the ten nests the best attempt was one baby fledging and able to fly the whole length of the aviary, but even this one did not survive. It is now regretted that at least a couple were not taken for hand rearing to increase my numbers. I have at least been able to sex the four Spreos in the colony by way of displaying and egg laying, and know that I have two true pairs.




1/03/2001: Three pairs have simultaneously laid eggs. Several other pairs have built nests and further egg laying is imminent.
18/03/2001: Now seven pairs are on eggs.
26/03/2001: Twelve pairs are now nesting with the earlier pairs' eggs just starting to hatch.
07/04/2001: Out of the first seven nests, four have failed but three are succ essfully rearing their youngsters.
28/04/2001: The survival rate amongst the young have been disappointing with only four pairs rearing small clutches to nest feather stage. However, all the pairs are currently sitting or rearing.

Summary: The very late spring and cold nights made hard work of the breeding for the canaries. However, success in the end brought about a total of 40 young.




Malibar or Chestnut-Tailed Starling

(Sturnus malabarica):


26/03/2001: Drawn by the behaviour of the pair I inspected the nest boxes and indeed they had laid their first egg. This pair have laid previously, although all their eggs being infertile. Maybe this time!
07/04/2001: A further inspection of the nest revealed that the total clutch was just one egg. Not the usual recipe for success!
12/04/2001: As expected this single egg was infertile. To add to the confusion the hen has now started laying further eggs on the floor!
28/04/2001: They are now incubating five eggs in the nest box.
06/05/2001: Yet another clutch of infertile eggs. They are however, acting as foster parents.
17/05/2001: This pair are successfully rearing a Red Billed Starling chick.
28/05/2001: I have managed to acquire another Starling of this species to make up a trio.
Hopefully the spate of infertile eggs will now be remedied.
19/06/2001: First eggs since the introduction of the new male, hopefully they will now produce some young.
24/06/2001: I was very disappointed to find that the clutch of eggs had been tossed from the nest box. Due to pressure of aviary space, they do not have an aviary to themselves, a situation which is not ideal.

Summary: The breeding of this species has again eluded me! Though in consolation they did foster a Red-billed Starling for me.



Pennant's Parakeet

(Platycercus elegans)

07/04/2001: Our own bred male bird has been recently seen attentively feeding his hen. She has so far laid two eggs but not yet commenced incubation.
12/04/2001: The hen has now commenced incubation.
28/04/2001 At least seven eggs are in the and some at least seem to be fertile.
06/05/2001: The hen is a very close sitter, but I have managed to see at least three babies poking out from under her.
17/05/2001: Five babies are being successfully reared.
07/06/2001: Four babies survived to near fledgling stage.

Summary: The four babies were removed to the house for hand feeding just before they fledged. This resulted in four very tame young. Luckily they are two pairs, which will easily be found new homes. The pair only nested the once.



Peruvian Gold-Billed Ground Doves

(Columbina cruziana)

07/04/2001: Our own-bred youngsters from last year have built a nest among the conifer branches and are sitting on the customary two eggs.
28/04/2001: Two young in nest.
06/05/2001: The young have now fledged and are able to fly the length of the aviary. My original pair have also commenced laying, using an open fronted nest box.
17/05/2001: The first pair are now sitting on their second clutch. The other pair's eggs have disappeared, so they have been relocated to another aviary.
28/05/2001: Two further young being reared by first pair. The second pair are n est building in their new quarters.
07/06/2001: Unfortunately the first pair's second clutch were found dead on the floor, having fell from the nest. Pair two are sat on two fertile eggs.
03/07/2001: Pair two have now successfully reared their two youngsters.

Summary: The two pairs reared to maturity a total of 8 young. The main losses were when they inadvertently fell from their nests and were chilled or simply getting lost when they first fledged, while still needing to be fed by the parents.

Gold billed Doves




San Blas Jay

(Cyanocorax sanblasianus)


12/04/2001: The Hen has been sat since the 2nd April and I must conclude that she is indeed incubating a clutch of eggs.
28/04/2001: A chance inspection revealed a total of four eggs. An eggshell appeared on the nest edge on the 23rd Day. I assume that there is at least one youngster in the nest.
26th Day and the nest is available for inspection, but disappointingly reveals no chicks or eggs and is already partly dismantled.

Summary: This was their only attempt at nesting, and not knowing for sure if the eggs were ever fertile or a youngster in the nest was quite frustrating. While nesting the male was very aggressive, flying at the wire and attacking when I approached. They did not make a second attempt to nest.


San Blas Jay


Red Billed or Silky Starling

(Sturnus sericeus)


12/04/2001: Three eggs so far in an elevated nest box stuffed with coarse grasses.
28/04/2001: A total of six eggs have been laid.
06/05/2001: A chance inspection revealed that they had laid eight eggs, and hatched seven which were all cold and neglected. They were revived by heat, and the sole survivor is now being reared by the pair of Malibar starlings.
28/05/2001: The chick being fostered by the Malibar Starlings has now fledged, and looks strong and healthy.

Summary: The fostered chick lived independently for a time and was later found dead for no apparent reason. The male Red-billed also mysteriously died and so brought their breeding season to an end.

Red Billed Starling



Crested Bronzewing Pigeons


06/05/2001: They are making their first attempt at breeding and have laid their first egg. Typical dove nest less than two feet from the nearest Ringneck Dove nest.
28/05/2001: A total of three eggs were found in the nest, which proved to be infertile. It is concluded that they are both females.
15/08/2001: I have added a third bird to the original 'pair,' but am of the opinion that this too may well be a female. However, they are incubating eggs at present, so I 'live in hope'!
01/09/2001: As predicted these eggs being infertile. Another nest has been started this containing four eggs. I really need to locate a male o f this species.

Summary: It was concluded that all three birds were indeed females.


Crested Pigeons


Nanday Conures

(Nandayus nenday)


06/05/2001: First egg. Rather later than usual probably due to the late spring we are experiencing. They laid their first egg on the 22nd of April last year.
19/06/2001: A nest inspection was disappointing. One dead chick, one egg 'dead in shell' , one infertile, but one live chick, which hopefully they will rear. 13/07/2001: The youngster was found dead in the nest box after the spate of thunderstorms. This is disappointing, as they have always proved to be reliable parents in the past.

Summary: This was their only attempt to nest this year. They have now been re-homed to make space.

Nanday Conure




(Cyanaramphus novaezelandiae)

28/05/2001: A Lutino male is paired to a pied cinnamon female and she has commenced laying.
19/06/2001: Two chicks have hatched to date.
13/07/2001: Both youngsters are now feathering up, and progressing well.

23/07/2001: The babies are now showing their colours. This is a picture of the prettiest of the young.
01/09/2001: The hen has now commenced her next clutch of eggs.

Summary: The hen failed to incubate the second clutch and the first clutch proved to be the only successful one of the year. However, they are both young birds and will no doubt be very successful in the future. The best of the youngsters proved to be a female and has been retained for breeding.


Common Mynah

(Acridotheres tristis)


28/05/2001: My original female has been paired up with her son. They have started nesting and there were two eggs on the first inspection.
07/06/2001: A total of four eggs were laid. One has been discarded but the other three look fertile.
24/06/2001: Unfortunately, all the eggs were infertile.
03/07/2001: The pair have indeed laid again. There were three eggs on inspection.
01/08/2001: All eggs infertile again!
15/08/2001: A different aviary and the addition of my spare female to the pair was a risky decision. However the three birds have settled down remarkably well and have rewarded me with a clutch of eggs.
10/09/2001: All eggs infertile again.

Summary: Every egg proved infertile!

common mynah




Diamond Dove

(Geopelia cuneata)


28/05/2001: The first pair have commenced incubating the usual two eggs.
07/06/2001: First clutch dead in shell. The other pair have now laid.
24/06/2001: Surprisingly, the clutch with the second pair were also 'dead in shell.'
03/07/2001: Pair one are now incubating another clutch of eggs.
13/07/2001: 'Dead in Shell' again.
15/08/2001: Having lost one hen, I have swapped the male over in the hope that I may finally have some success this year with these usually free breeding species.
The pair are currently nesting.
10/09/2001: A baby Diamond Dove at last! One only hatched from the usual two eggs.
04/10/2001: Baby Diamond Dove doing well.

Summary: These have been very disappointing this year. The first baby has since perished, probably due to night fright. Although they have reared another this is not the total one would expect with a 'beginner' species.

diamond doves



Amethyst Starling

(Cinnyricinlus leucogaster)


19/06/2001: This pair have nested in a 'Budgie' type nest box using moss, a few sprigs of conifer and Horse dung as lining. There are three eggs being incubated. The eggs are pale matt blue with brown flecks on the larger end.
24/06/2001: First egg hatched on 22/06/2001. The hen can be actively seen carrying live food to the nest.
03/07/2001: A nest inspection reveals that there is a single youngster just reaching 'pin feather' stage. The other two eggs did not hatch.

13/07/2001: Unfortunately, the single youngster was found dead in the nest box after the spate of thunderstorms. They have, however, started their second attempt, the first egg being laid in the same nest box.
This is their nest site. A large 'half' post with hole drilled through, and box mounted at rear.
01/08/2001: They did not attempt to lay any further eggs or sit on the one egg. The egg has however been fostered under the Spreo Starlings.
15/08/2001: The fostered egg was infertile.

Summary: Breeding this species is reported to be quite difficult. It is progress to be able to report a youngster in the nest however, and the lessons learned will no doubt help in a successful outcome in the future.

Amethyst Starling nest



Chinese Painted Quail

(Coturnix chinensis)

19/06/2001: Although usually bred by the use of an incubator, I have four females and a male in an outdoor aviary being left to their own devices. Two nests have been made from grasses and coconut fibre, both contain eggs which I hope they will incubate naturally.

03/07/2001: One female is indeed incubating a clutch of eggs.
13/07/2001: Quite thrilling to see a baby Quail emerge from their house. It seems to be the only one to date. It resembles a 'bumble bee' with legs!
(Picture opposite of the Baby Chinese Painted Quail)
01/08/2001: The sole baby unfortunately disappeared.

Summary: Although eggs appeared in abundance all over the floor, they made no further attempt to incubate themselves.


Pallas Rosefinch

(Carpodacus erythrinus)


24/06/2001: Within a couple of weeks of being removed from the outdoor aviary, they have nested in an indoor flight. First egg being laid on the 23/6/2001.
13/07/2001: Having been unable to see the contents of the nest due to the hen still sitting tight, there should either be young or infertile eggs at this stage.
01/08/2001: The eggs proved infertile, and the pair have now commenced their moult.

Summary: This being their only attempt at breeding as is usual with this species. These have now been re-homed.

pallas rosefinch


Grosbeak Starling

(scissirostrum dubium)

23/07/2001: Having despaired at them making any attempt to breed they were moved to a large mixed species aviary. On inspecting the nest boxes in there I was surprised to find a recently hatched baby.

01/08/2001: The baby can be heard from a great distance calling for food, and is progressing well. The eggshell was found on the floor and was pale matt blue with brown blotches on the large end.
Picture taken at six days old.

5/08/2001: The baby is st ill very vocal, which is a reassuring sound each day. Picture taken at 3 1 /2 weeks.
01/09/2001: The baby has now fledged, and flies with the flock.

Summary: The breeding of this species was quite unusual. When given their own aviary they made no attempt whatsoever. They were then removed to a communal aviary, which they had to compete with larger Red-billed Starlings and Purple Glossy Starlings. They then went to nest just once. Ample fruit hung in the aviary seemed to be the key to the success. Though, whether it was the fruit itself or the insects swarming around the fruit they used to rear is difficult to ascertain.

baby Grosbeak


See all images in lightbox ....



Back to list of articles click here ......