Hornbills, forty years of love


This video is called AMOROUS GREAT HORNBILLS.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Wednesday 17 Jul 2013, 21:09

Tomorrow, bird zoo Avifauna in Alphen aan den Rijn will celebrate the 40-year marriage of a great hornbill couple. The couple arrived in 1973 in the bird park and they have since been inseparable. According to Avifauna it is unique that two animals live together in a zoo for so long.

In those 40 years, the colorful couple had twelve offspring. They have been important in the international breeding program, Avifauna says. In recent years, they are still courting, but they don’t have chicks any more.

Vital interest

Avifauna explains that a good marriage is vital for hornbills, because during the breeding season the female depends on the male. The nest is in a hollow tree and its entry is almost completely bricked. The female is then locked in for about 3 months in the nest while the male gives her food.

To celebrate the anniversary the birds will get gifts on their ‘wedding day’, including a fruit garland and a basket full of maggots.

Eaglets and hornbill’s eggs


From Avifauna bird zoo in Alphen in the Netherlands, there is not only news about small hummingbirds today. Also about big birds.

In their Steller’s sea eagle nest, two eaglets have hatched.

Sulawesi hornbill

The Sulawesi hornbills have four eggs. They are expected to hatch mid-April.

That would be at about the same time as the oriental white storks‘ eggs.

Surinamese hummingbirds in Dutch zoo


This is a white-chinned sapphire video from Brazil.

Translated from bird zoo Avifauna in Alphen in the Netherlands:

Smallest bird species can now be seen in our park

Avifauna bird zoo has some special new residents. From today on, people can see the white-chinned sapphire, a hummingbird species with a weight of 3.5 grams and length of 8 centimeter in our bird park. The white-chinned sapphire is the smallest bird species currently in European zoos. …

The fork-tailed woodnymph, another hummingbird species, has arrived in the hummingbird house as well. This colourful bird is slightly larger than the white-chinned sapphire. In November 2012, these two Surinamese bird species were smuggled into the country through Schiphol airport, where the customs seized them. As bird park Avifauna takes care of confiscated birds, these two special species were entrusted to its expertise as well.

A cryptic new species of hummingbird of the Campylopterus largipennis complex (Aves: Trochilidae): here.

Eagles, vultures already building nests


This German video is about Steller’s sea eagles.

Another video which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Steller’s sea eagles battle golden eagles at a lake in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

Translated from Avifauna birds zoo in Alphen, the Netherlands:

Winter is well underway. Yet, this does not stop the Steller’s sea eagles from beginning to build their nest. Like every year the couple builds their nest in January, because at the end of this month, the eggs are expected. If all goes well, we will be able to welcome the new eaglets in March.

Also in the residence next to the Steller’s eagles, birds are working hard. The Rüppells vultures are moving nesting materials all the time. The bird wardens have already seen several matings. Last year was the first time that a Rüppells vulture chick was born and raised here. Hopefully they will manage again this year to raise offspring.

Baby birds in Dutch Avifauna zoo


This video is about Rüppell’s vultures in Africa.

Avifauna is a zoo in Alphen in the Netherlands. It specializes in birds.

Recently, several young birds have hatched there, according to a report on the park’s site.

A Rüppell’s vulture chick was born recently. It was the first time ever that a Rüppell’s vulture’s egg hatched in Avifauna.

Also a first for Avifauna is the young green jay hatched this spring.

This year, there are also two Steller’s sea eaglets.

And an eagle owl chick.

A baby kea born in a German zoo is so ugly that even his mother doesn’t want him: here.

Rare hornbill chicks hatch


This video says about itself:

A male Visayan Writhed-billed Hornbill / Visayan Wrinkled Hornbill / Rufous-headed hornbill (Aceros waldeni) feeding the female and chicks in its nest hole in a Shorea tree, lowland rainforest, central mountain range, Panay, Philippines. The species is Critically Endangered.

Translated from bird park Avifauna in Alphen, the Netherlands:

A first: chicks for highly endangered hornbill

July 25, 2011

Avifauna bird park has added three very rare Visayan Tarictic hornbills to its collection. Very special, as this species has never been born before in mainland Europe and outside the Philippines, there are just two places in the world where one can see it.

The Visayan Tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini panini) occurs in the wild only on a few Philippine islands. It is one of the most endangered hornbill species in the world, the wild population is estimated at less than 1,000 individuals. The biggest threats to it are the pet trade, hunting and deforestation. In order to protect these birds and their habitats in the Philippines, a project was started by Avifauna Bird Park and Chester Zoo in England, working with the Philippine government. Additionally, these two zoos have started a European zoo breeding program to serve as back up for the wild population.

In 2007, the parents came to Avifauna Bird Park as part of the European breeding program. This year, the first eggs were laid and the first chicks of this species hatched. The female sits with the chicks walled in inside a hollow tree in the Philipinnes hall of the bird park. In the wild, it is necessary to make the nest opening small to protect the young from predators. It will take about one month before the female will come out. The chicks will be two months old when they will emerge and will fly off immediately.

With hornbills, the difference between males and females is often visible. With the Visayan Tarictic hornbill, this difference is even really clear, because males are white and females are black. When the chicks will fledge, their colours will immediately say which sex they are.

Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 97 – The Visayan Warty Pig: here.

Massacre in Alphen, the Netherlands, and political counter-revolution


Flowers after the Alphen massacre

Yesterday, in Alphen aan de Rijn town in the Netherlands, there was a terrible massacre. In a local shopping mall, Tristan van der Vlis killed six people and injured sixteen others with a machine gun. Then, he took his own life.

Mr Van der Vlis was a gun club member and had licenses to own five firearms legally.

Why could such an apparently emotionally unstable dangerous individual have licenses to own firearms? To know the answer to this, we have to look at Dutch gun clubs in historical perspective.

November 1918. In Russia there is revolution. In Germany, the emperor flees to the Netherlands. Other monarchs fall.

Pieter Jelles Troelstra, the Dutch Social Democrat leader, and David Wijnkoop, leader of what would become the Dutch Communist Party, then proclaimed revolution. To counter this, counter-revolutionary paramilitary forces, the “Burgerwacht” were founded. To recruit for these forces, emphasis was on love for the monarchy (even among non socialists, love for the royal family was mostly stronger than for the capitalist economic order). One of the commanders of those Burgerwacht forces was Baron van Ittersum, a relative of royal lady in waiting, Baroness Elise van Ittersum.

Later, in January 1923, the first Dutch fascist party was founded by admirers of Mussolini: the Verbond van Actualisten, VVA. When, in July 1925, this party participated in the Dutch general election, its leading parliamentary candidate was Baron van Ittersum, a contact of other fascists who had been in the Burgerwacht under him.

Other Burgerwacht people would also turn up later in Dutch fascist organizations. Eg, Hugues Alexandre Sinclair de Rochemont, a co-founder of the VVA, had served under Van Ittersum. He would die as a member of Adolf Hitler’s SS occupation forces in the Soviet Union.

After the attempts at Left revolution of 1918 had failed, the Dutch government made it illegal for people with “revolutionary views” to become members of gun clubs. This meant exclusion of social democrats, communists, anarchists, etc. That law is still valid today.

On the other hand, the law on gun clubs said nothing about banning violent counter-revolutionary people. So, supporters of Mussolini, Hitler, and later dictatorships like the Greek colonels or Pinochet in Chile were and are welcome as rifle club members.

In the nineteen eighties and nineties, there was the neo-fascist “Centrumdemocraten” party in the Netherlands. They had their own gun club.

UPDATE: Van der Vlis voted for the PVV, Geert Wilders’ xenophobic party. He was the grandson of Dutch nazi Kornelis van der Vlis, mayor during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

British BNP nazis and firearms: here.

Dutch 1920s establishment rather uncritical about Mussolini: here.

Australian brush-turkey chick born


This video from Australia is called Two Australian brush turkey females laying their eggs on a nest under the close supervision of the male.

According to Leidsch Dagblad daily in the Netherlands, an Australian brush-turkey chick has been born in Avifauna in Alphen.

In only two zoos in all of Europe, this species is breeding.

Contrary to most bird species, the adult birds do not sit on the eggs, but let the eggs develop in warm heaps of leaves.

Today Australia’s leading national bird conservation organisation, Birds Australia (BirdLife Partner), has launched its annual State of Australia’s Birds report. This year’s theme, Islands and Birds, provides just a snapshot as more than 8,300 islands occur within Australia’s jurisdiction: here.

Six Australian birds declared extinct, although some could have been saved: here.

ONE SPECIES AND FIVE sub-species of Australian birds that, when last surveyed ten years ago, were listed as critically endangered, are now thought to have been extinct for many years: here.

Stolen Montserrat orioles are back


This video from England says about itself:

Training the Montserrat Orioles in ‘Rainforest Life’

12 September 2012

The critically endangered Montserrat Orioles can be seen in the Rainforest Bio, ZSL London Zoo.

Another video from England used to say about itself:

Three small clips of birds at London zoo.

My favourite birds here are the little hooded pitta. They look like little bandits on a rescue mission.

The rarest species in these clips is the Montserrat oriole. They only live on the tiny island of Montserrat, and are Critically endangered.

The other bird in these clips is the beautiful wood hoopoe. The complexity of the colours in its plumage are too hard to describe!

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

Stolen rare birds are back in Avifauna

29 September 2009

ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN – The rare Montserrat oriole couple which had been stolen nearly two weeks ago from bird park Avifauna in Alphen aan den Rijn, are back.

A man who, according to a park spokesperson, had bought them in good faith, got suspicious after reading in the media about the theft. ‘When he bought them, he did not know which birds they were’, the spokesman said on Tuesday. The man also brought back four other birds, which ‘were not as irreplaceable’. He said about five hundred Montserrat orioles are still alive in the wild, and fifty live in zoos worldwide.

During the theft, about twenty birds [of various species] disappeared, so most of them are not back yet.

Update 2012: young Montserrat oriole born in Alphen.

Aided by recent advances in technology, scientists have discovered new populations of several seriously imperiled species: here.

Bullock’s Oriole Icterus bullockii: here.

St Lucia oriole: here.

Bahama Oriole on the edge: The recently recognised Bahama Oriole is one of the rarest birds in the Caribbean: here.

A previous BirdLife Community Blog highlighted the threat posed by feral livestock to the Centre Hills on Montserrat and actions being taken by the Darwin Initiative funded project ‘Reducing the impact of feral livestock in and around the Centre Hills’ to tackle this: here.

Documenting new seabird-colony Important Bird Areas, finding previously undocumented colonies and colonies thought to be extirpated: these are just some of the exciting discoveries reported within Environmental Protection in the Caribbean’s (EPIC’s) ground-breaking Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles: here.