Meet Our Birds
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Jin Anyan, Glenn Skankey, Anonymous, Robin Hargrove
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Sharon Kolch, Carissa Reyes, Steve Miller, Glenn Skankey, Meg Despain, Anonymous, Jenifer Wood
The kea is a large parrot that averages 19 inches in size and 1.8-2.2 pounds in weight. Its inquisitive, nomadic, social nature helps it find and utilize new food sources in the harsh alpine environment. Keas are the largest flighted terrestrial bird in New Zealand., and the Maori people gave the bird it's name due to their high-pitched call.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive parents: Claira Spens
The emu is the second tallest bird after the ostrich. It has long, strong legs, three forward-facing toes, and small wings that are hidden by its shaggy brown and tan feathers. It has a long neck and a head that is covered in wispy black feathers. The emu feeds on fruits, seeds, insects, and small animals. It does not have a crop, but its modified esophagus can hold food for up to 30 minutes.
Northern Helmeted Curassow
The Edward’s pheasant is a small pheasant with red legs and facial skin. The male has glossy black plumage with a blue luster, metallic-green fringes on its upper wings, and a white crest. The female is similar in appearance, but has duller, grey-brown plumage. The diet of this species in the wild is unknown. In captivity, it is fed a mixture of grains, vegetables, and protein (usually insects).
American White Pelican
Thanks to our 2014 Adoptive Parents: Paula King
Weighing up to 30 lbs and sporting a 7-foot wing span, the American white pelican has earned its bragging rights as Utah’s largest native bird. It is easily identified by its white plumage, bright orange feet and orange bill that includes a huge, net-shaped pouch. These large birds live around freshwater wetlands and lakes.
You can connect with the American white pelican at the daily feedings of Tracy Aviary’s pelican flock. Or if you prefer a wilder experience, visit Great Salt Lake from late spring to early fall. One of the largest breeding populations of American white pelicans in the world gathers on the lake’s protected Gunnison Island.
Double-crested Cormorants are widely distributed throughout North America. Northern Utah is part of the breeding range for this species. These cormorants are named after the feathers that mature adults grow on either side of their head during breeding season.
The flock at the Aviary were once wild, but various injuries landed them in wildlife rehabilitation centers. The injuries on these birds were severe enough that they were unable to be rereleased into the wild and they now make their home at the Aviary. Double-crested Cormorants feed almost exclusively on fish.
The scarlet ibis is a nomadic bird closely related to storks and spoonbills, found in wetlands and coastal locations throughout South America. It seasonally moves in groups between sites where water is present to find reliable sources of crabs, invertebrates, frogs and fish.
Like flamingos, scarlet ibises get their bright red color from the food they eat—in this case, tropical crabs. Their long bill has a very sensitive tip, similar to human finger tips, that they use to feel for their tasty meals deep in the mud or water. When raising young, scarlet ibises build their nests in trees near hundreds of other ibis nests for extra protection against predators.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Quinn McLaughlin
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Nick Coffin
Ancient civilizations along the Andes Mountains believed that the Andean condor was a form of their sun god and they held the bird in highest esteem. As one of the largest flighted birds on earth with its 11 foot-wide wing span, it is not surprising that early humans considered this bird an otherworldly creature. Using its huge wings to catch rising hot air currents, the Andean condor can glide without flapping for hours, reaching heights of 18,000 feet—more than 3 miles high!
Like other vultures, condors depend on carcasses for their meals and have specially adapted digestive systems to break down bacteria that would otherwise make them very ill. Andean condors are found in high, rocky areas of the Andes Mountains, low deserts in Peru and Chile and grassy plains in Argentina.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Glenn Skankey
Oriental Magpie Robin
Although once common, the pink pigeon declined to just 10 wild individuals in the late 1990s due to severe loss of habitat, predation of nests by introduced species, and the introduction of invasive plant species, which greatly reduced the quality of the birds’ breeding and foraging habitat. In addition, the introduction of Trichomoniasis has affected the species, and cyclones have destroyed nests and accelerated habitat degradation. Intervention programs like captive breeding and release programs, supplementary feeding, and rat control are showing success. Populations are now over 300 individuals, and the species has been listed by IUCN as Endangered since 2000. However, disease, fluctuation in population sizes due to their small range, and inbreeding are now big concerns. Intensive conservation efforts remain essential
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Jay and Jean Thomas, Milo Allen, Theo Klimes,
One of the largest birds of prey in North America, the golden eagle has up to a 7.25-foot wingspan and height of 28‒33 inches. Its entire body is covered with dark brown feathers with a golden sheen, gray bars on its broad tail and pale bars across the top of its wings. The golden eagle is an excellent hunter and rarely eats carrion. It hunts from the air or from a perch, flying close to the ground to surprise its prey. Its hunting territory can be up to 162 square miles. It eats medium-sized mammals like groundhogs, marmots, ground squirrels, rabbits and skunks. It has also been known to eat crows, pheasants, tortoises and snakes.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Chris Roman
The bald eagle is found only on the North American continent living near lakes and rivers from Alaska to Northern Mexico. Bald eagles only migrate south where freezing of water bodies occur. One of eight species of fish eagles, their primary food source is fish. They also feed on carrion, waterfowl, and small mammals. Adult male eagles generally weigh about 9 pounds and adult females typically weigh between 12 and 13 pounds. Adult eagles have a wing span of up to 7 feet. Immature eagles are mottled brown and white with a dark beak. The distinct white head and tail and yellow beak of the mature bird is developed between 4-5 years of age. Pairs typically mate for life, which in the wild can be between 30 and 35 years. In captivity, they have been known to live up to 50 years.
Because they are near the top of the food chain, eagles are an irreplaceable indicator for measuring the health of the entire ecological system in which they live. The bald eagle was listed as an endangered species in 1978 after a dramatic population decline (largely the result of DDT contamination). The Bald Eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Although populations of the Bald Eagle have recovered, it continues to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Bald Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Ever heard of the saying “eagle eye” used to describe someone with exceptional eyesight? Bald Eagles have such keen eyesight that they can spot fish from up to a mile high in the air!
Southern Ground Hornbill
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Russel Francom, Angela Trumbo, Cliff King
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Jared and Campbell Turner, Steve Lamb, Diane Nielsen, and Toni Wiseman
Southern ground hornbills are one of the largest of the hornbill species and are native to savannas and grasslands that adjoin forest in southeast Africa. The body feathers are black and the primary feathers of the wings are white. The birds have a bright red throat patch that can be inflated when they vocalize and their booming call can be heard for miles. The female has additional blue markings on her throat patch. Both sexes have very long eyelashes (which are feathers!) and the eyes are also surrounded by red skin patches. Though they can fly, and roost in trees at night, they spend most of their time on the ground in search of food.
Their long bills are used for stabbing at their prey which includes insects, frogs, snails, and mammals up to the size of small hares. They are very opportunistic in their feeding habits and are known to take snakes as venomous as cobras and puff adders. The average lifespan in the wild is not definitively known but believed to be 35 to 40 years. It is possible that their maximum longevity could be as long as 70 years.
They often walk with antelope, zebra and other mammals, taking advantage of food disturbed by the herds. Ground hornbills mate for life, and offspring may spend several years as part of the family group. The family group is usually 5-10 birds, and all family members defend the territory and help in what is termed “cooperative breeding.” Tracy Aviary is one of the few zoological institutions that houses southern ground hornbills in a family group as they would naturally be found in the wild.
Southern ground hornbills are persecuted in some areas of their home range, many times for breaking windows which the birds will do when they see their reflection. Their territories restrict the numbers of birds that can exist in any given area and the reproductive rate is one of the slowest among birds. A group will successfully raise a chick about once every nine years. Still considered “vulnerable” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), biologists believe current numbers may suggest that they should be listed as critically endangered.
Thanks to our 2015 Adopters: Sandra and David Whitmore
Sandhill cranes are the only species of crane native to Utah. They can be found scouting for meals of insects and invertebrates in the soggy mud of marshes and wetlands throughout the upper half of our state. The cranes’ fossil record dates back over nine million years, making them one of the oldest species of birds persisting today. These cranes are so well adapted to survival that in those nine million years little has changed about their appearance.
Sandhill cranes generally mate for life at two years of age, finding partners during spring migration and bonding through dancing displays and calls cried out in unison. Chicks are hatched during late spring in floating nests anchored along wetland shores and are cared for by both parents until they are about 10 months old.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Melissa Gill and Bird Noir
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Jackie Sharp ,Guy Kenison, and Luann Martineau
Guira cuckoos are noisy, outgoing birds that live in large family groups in the upper half of South America. Related to the roadrunner, guira cuckoos can often be found running along the ground in small groups while hunting insects, small reptiles and amphibians. They are readily identified by their shaggy brown feathers, spiky crest and long tail.
Like other cuckoos, guira cuckoos are communal nesters, but not the most polite roommates. Groups will use a single nest to house approximately 20 blue speckled eggs from multiple females, but when others aren’t looking, the cuckoos will sometimes push eggs from the nest to decrease competition for their own chicks.
Tracy Aviary’s guira cuckoos are almost all from the same family and were hatched here at the Aviary.
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Sarah Seegert, Kimberly Christensen, Chylee Eccles, Makayla Searle, Tifany Mulumba, Dr. Michelle Mileham and Matthew Boyer, Kayla Doud, Lashell & William Johnson
Experience the magnificent colors and outgoing personalities of sun conures first ‘hand’ by feeding our flock in our Amazon Adventure exhibit.
Wild sun conures are social birds that live in groups of approximately 30 individuals, feeding primarily upon fruit, seeds, nuts, flowers and legumes.
Though they are popular pets, little more is known about the lives of sun conures in the wild. It was widely thought that these small, brightly colored parrots had strong populations, but recent studies indicate that there are less than 2500 left in the wild due to habitat loss and capture of individuals for the pet industry. Consequently, sun conures have been classified as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature organization.
The Green Aracari is one of the smallest species of Toucans. Like most Toucans, their long bill allows the Aracari to reach fruit at the ends of branches that are not strong enough to hold the entire bird. Like parrots, toucans are zygodactylous (two toes pointed forward and two pointed backward), which gives stability for them to climb in trees.
The red-legged seriema lives in South America mostly in grassland habitat. Males are slightly larger than females, but otherwise the sexes look alike. Their crest is formed by permanently raised, slightly stiff feathers at the base of the bill and they have beautiful blue skin around the eyes. Seriemas have three very sharp, short front toes and a raised, smaller rear toe which enables them to run quickly to escape from predators. They can only fly for short distances, so their primary method of escape is to run. The seriema’s call is unusual and typically described as a “yelping dog.” It can be heard over a mile away and is usually produced in the early morning hours in defense of a mating pair’s territory. One member of the pair will usually start the song while the other answers in a sort of duet.
Though considered omnivores, seriemas prefer insects like grasshoppers and beetles, along with small rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, and frogs. They will also eat seeds, fruits, and crops.
The male’s courtship display consists of strutting before the female, stretching out his flight feathers and lowering his head to show his crest. Seriemas are thought to mate for life and both participate in nest building (which usually takes them about a month). Two eggs are usually laid and the responsibility of incubation is also shared by both parents.
Although humans are interfering with red-legged seriema habitat through agricultural and water developments, seriemas seem to be adapting to the changes and are a species of least concern according to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
The blue-crowned motmot’s crown is black bordered by a wide band of blue, covering most of the forehead. The back and upper tail feathers are green. The wings are brighter green with bluer primary feathers. The two central feathers of the long tail extend far beyond the rest and near the end each has a short length of shaft from which part of the feather falls out naturally. This slender stalk supports an isolated, bluish-black paddle-shaped feather. The bill is black. The eyes are a dull red.
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Felicia Prevo
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Steve Petersen
The Southern lapwing is a ground-dwelling wading bird found near lakes, riverbanks, and open grassland throughout South America.
These birds are territorial and have an array of defensive displays, vocalizations, and aerobatic flapping display flights. During the breeding season, parents produce alarm calls that cause their chicks to crouch in the vegetation when a potential predator is near. Southern lapwings are also known to present a ‘broken-wing’ display to attract ground dwelling predators (humans, cats, etc…) away from their nest. The timing of breeding for Southern Lapwings is strongly related to the timing of the rainy season. Pairs are thought to be monogamous with normal clutch sizes ranging from 1-4 eggs.
Its food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates, hunted by a run-and-wait technique, mainly at night. This gregarious species often feeds in flocks.
In Uruguay, due to its bold and combative nature it has become mascot of the Uruguay national rugby team.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Kara McKay, Tiana Celia
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Jacob Verde, Havalee Coy, Jonathan Catrow, Tiffini Sorcic and Ben Sorcic, Lindsay Malechek Klimes, Mrs. Iryna Sayer and Brian Sayer
This unusual-looking bird is native to South America and supports its environment as a ”waste management specialist” by eating carrion. The species is built to hunt out and safely eat dead animals, which would make most other creatures ill. Its keen eyesight and sense of smell help it locate its meals and its colorful, bald head helps keep the bird clean while digging around in carcasses.
This species of vulture also has an exceptionally strong beak, which tears easily into the hides of its food. The king vulture gets its name from the tendency of other scavengers to step away from carcasses as it approaches, as though it were a king, because it can open up fresh carrion more easily than birds with weaker beaks.
Don’t miss the Aviary’s pair of king vultures, who, like all vultures, enjoy bathing in the sun’s UV rays to disinfect bacteria from their wings.
Black-Throated Magpie Jay
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Ami Williams, Fred Palmer & Maria Albanese, Amanda Nielsen, Steve and Maridee Haycock, Tina Miranda
The black-throated magpie-jay is an omnivorous bird that eats berries, fruit, invertebrates, and small rodents. It often caches its food for later consumption. It is part of a group of birds known as corvids, which includes crows and ravens. These birds have higher than average intelligence among birds, which they use to explore new sources of food, solve problems, and remember where they have cached food. The black-throated magpie-jay plays an important ecological role by caching berries and seeds. Those that it fails to go back for will grow into plants.
Great Green Macaw
Blue and Gold Macaw
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Natalie Hadlock
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Kjersti Goodrich, Ainsley Malmborg, Ms. Megan Walsh
The green-winged macaw forages in the canopy for seeds, fruits, and nuts of various trees. It will visit clay licks to obtain salt and other minerals, a valuable resource in inland areas. Its scaly tongue has a bone inside, enabling it to puncture into fruits, and its large beak can crack open hard nuts. Green-winged macaw populations are declining due to habitat loss and illegal capture for the pet trade.
Great Horned Owl
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Jackson Ludlow, Nikita Burton, Kay Andrus, Dave and Sara Kaplan, Henry Schaefer, Josephine Bezzant, Alexa McCallum, Jason Dee
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Jacob Harvey, Stuart and Meredith John, Meagan Rumph, Sara Everly, Dawn Harvey, Cheryl Wiegand, Russ Wiegand, Andrea Eggett, Linda Irick, Natalia Pawlowicz, Isabella Coy, Sheri and Dustin Mitchell, Shellby McGarrell, Ingledew Family, John Arquette, Jennifer Myers, Katherine Hertz, Izabelle Stevens, Christina Jensen, Matt Knecht, Leah Carson, Zachery Zundel & Suzannah Sharp, Kate Call, Atticus Wolfgramm, Eric Kenney, Lindsay McDade, Chris Stockmann, Natasha Hackwell, Susan & Ray Beverly, Julia Gereaux, Stormie Jones, Great Salt Lake Audubon, Courtney and Sean Whelan, Jenifer Tomchak, Lyndsey Fox, Guy Kenison
Its diet is 90% mammals and 10% birds. Mammal prey includes voles, mice, ground squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and skunks. Bird prey includes ducks, geese, great blue herons, and other raptors, including hawks and smaller owls. It occasionally eats lizards, snakes, and invertebrates such as scorpions. It is the most common and widespread of North American owl species, though it is in slight decline in Canada. Its only natural enemy is other great horned owls, although occasionally other birds eat its eggs. Owls occasionally become poisoned after eating rodents that have been poisoned by humans.
The barred owl can be identified by its rounded head, grey-white face, and grey, brown, and white plumage. They also have dark brown eyes without visible whites. These birds range from 16.5-19.5 inches, and the females are typically larger. Their wingspans range from 39-43 inches. Both sexes have vertical barring on their front side. They typically live to about 10-15 years in the wild, though they have been known to live up to 23 years in captivity.
Western screech owls are nocturnal and tend to become active 20-30 minutes after sunset. They most commonly eat small mammals, birds, annelid worms, insects, crayfish, and fish. They use a “sit-and-wait” hunting method, perching and waiting for its prey rather than roaming. Western screech owls eat smaller prey whole and will take larger prey to a safe perch and tear it apart.
Song birds are a favorite prey of the western screech owls. The song bird will remain silent if it senses any other predators. This additionally benefits the western screech owls in that it can use song birds as an indication of predators that might also be dangerous to the owl itself.
The eastern screech owl is a small‐bodied bird with a large head that has distinctive ear tufts. This owl has two well‐camouflaged color morphs: mostly gray or mostly reddish‐brown. The male eastern screech owl is smaller than the female, but he has a deeper voice. Suburban eastern screech owls fledge at a younger age than rural ones, probably because there are fewer predators in suburban areas.
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Ms. Dawn Sweeney, Keith & Charity Brown
Black-Crowned Night Heron
The black-crowned night-heron has the largest range of any heron, living in wetlands across five different continents. It is a stocky, medium-sized bird with a black cap on its head, black shoulders and pale grey wings.
These birds avoid competing for food with larger herons by hunting during the evening and night, when they patiently wait for their meals of crustaceans, invertebrates and fish. While hunting, black-crowned night herons stand perfectly still on the edge of the water and then quickly ambush unsuspecting passing prey. If waiting is not enough, sometimes the heron will dip its bill into the water and rapidly open and close it to attract prey. Black-crowned night herons live in colonial groups and help raise the young of others with their own.
Tracy Aviary’s black crowned night herons can be found in the Kennecott Wetlands Immersion Experience, located in the northeast section of the Aviary. Look closely and you’ll also see an albino among them.
Western Scrub Jay
Stop by the Kennecott Wetland Immersion Experience to see the avocet and other wetland birds!
American avocets are wetland birds native to North America and can be found in Northern Utah during their breeding season. The avocet’s plumage changes with the season. In the summer, the head and neck are a rusty brown with the color changing to gray in the winter. Avocets usually feed in flocks of up to several thousand birds and use their long dark upturned bill to eat invertebrates, small fish, and seeds.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Susan Dyer, Brianna Koucos
The black-necked stilt feeds almost exclusively on aquatic invertebrates, with some fish, reptiles, and amphibians. It spends summer at the Great Salt Lake using brine flies and brine shrimp as a major food source. It feeds in shallow water, while wading or swimming. This bird locates food by sight and snaps it up, sometimes sticking its head completely underwater, or just swiping its bill through water.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Tiana Celia
The red-tailed hawk is the most prevalent species of hawk in North America and is named for its reddish-brown colored tail. Red-tails have that famous sharp, high-pitched scream of “kee-ee-aar”, typically dubbed in movie soundtracks to represent just about any predatory bird on the screen.
This adaptable hunter spends much of its time searching for prey from elevated objects such as utility poles, fences and trees. Once it spots a potential meal—usually a small rodent, reptile or small bird— the red-tailed hawk will swoop down to strike with its legs extended, one behind the other. Although this is its preferred method of hunting, it can occasionally be seen stalking prey on the ground or hovering in strong winds. Despite its formidable size, a Red-tailed Hawk only weighs about 3 pounds. A dog that size would weigh about 10 pounds. It is the red-tailed hawk’s ability to hunt and survive in a variety of ways that allows it to live in such a wide range of habitats, from Canada down to Central America.
It takes three years for a red-tailed hawk to fully mature and at this age it will select a mate through ritualistic courtship displays. Once a mate has been selected, the pair will remain together for the rest of their lives and establish a territory that can cover up to 4 square miles of land. An extremely territorial species, both birds will tirelessly defend their territory against other predators, with the female primarily defending the nest site and the male defending territory boundaries.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Anne Ivie
Indian Peafowl are a species of pheasant native to India and Sri Lanka and are best known for the extravagant tail display of the male—or peacock— during mating season. The peacock’s tail is actually an arrangement of extra feathers, called a “train,” which grows in addition to the real tail. Each feather of the train is topped with a large ‘eye’ used to both attract mates and scare off predators. Female peafowl are called peahens and can be identified by their duller brown feathers and lack of a train. Peafowl young are called peachicks.
While wild peafowl live in forests and open grassy areas, peafowl can now be found all over the world as pets and exhibit birds. They are content to remain free roaming and fully flighted wherever they have adequate food and protection from predators, such as at Tracy Aviary.
White-faced Whistling Duck
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Beatrice Teigen
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Vickie Venne, Leo Liggins, Dr. Michelle Mileham and Matthew Boyer, Wendy Muirbrook, Jon Price
It is primarily a dabbling duck that wades in shallow water, up-ending and occasionally diving. It feeds mainly at night, and the mainstay of its diet are vegetation such as grass, seeds, and rice, as well as aquatic invertebrates. It is particularly fond of the seeds and fruit of water lilies. Their lifespan in the wild has not been documented; however, one individual lived 12 years in a zoo. Although it has the long neck and long legs of other tree ducks, it does not spend much time perched in trees but prefers sand banks. It behaves more like a goose or swan than a typical duck.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Bill Hanewinkel, Summer Fenstermaker
The Guam kingfisher is characterized by its iridescent blue back and cinnamon head. It has a laterally-flattened bill and dark legs. It is sexually dimorphic; the male’s chest and belly match its cinnamon head, while the female’s chest and belly are white. It is about 9 inches long with a wingspan of about 8 inches.
The Guam kingfisher is extinct in the wild largely due to the introduction of the brown tree snake. The tree snake’s main source of food is small birds and bird eggs. This snake drove the kingfisher to extinction on the island by 1988. Although down to less than 50 individuals by 1985, the population in captive breeding programs is more than 150 now. Once the brown tree snake population is under control, there are plans to reintroduce Guam kingfishers.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Glenn Skankey
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Tyson Rollins
Come visit the aviary to catch a glimpse of our Trumpeter Swan pair gliding across a pond near you!
The Trumpeter Swan is native to Northern North America and is the largest waterfowl found in its range. These impressive birds were hunted for their beautiful white feathers to the point of near extinction in the early 20th century. Thanks to conservation efforts, their population has recovered and they are now common throughout most of their range.
Trumpeter swans can live over 24 years in the wild and form tight pair bonds with their mate that lasts a lifetime. Females lay 1-9 eggs in a large nest of vegetation near water, eggs are incubated by both parents. The grayish-brow Cygnets leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching to swim and feed with the parents.
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Michelle May, Karri Lauritzen, Zoe Becker, Mindy Pike, Ms. Megan Walsh
Thanks to our 2015 Adoptive Parents: Heather Thomas
The red-billed toucan is omnivorous, frequently eating fruit and occasionally eating insects, lizards, and eggs from nests of other birds. The actual function of its oversized bill is not yet fully understood, although it appears to give the bird an advantage in plucking fruit off of branches too small to bear the birds weight. It is also thought to play a role in play and courtship rituals and temperature regulation.
The black vulture feeds primarily on carrion, but will on rare occasions eat small animals. It uses its eyesight to spot food and will follow turkey vultures to food. The black vulture has a strong bond with family members, and will sometimes use power in numbers to take a carcass from other scavengers. It continues to feed its offspring for 8 months after chicks fledge. Groups consisting of extended family roost together and lead members to carrion.
Like other vultures, the black vulture lacks a syrinx, so its only vocalizations are hisses and grunts. Vader and Chewy often sound like little pigs when they vocalize! Chewy and Vader look almost identical, but these sisters have unique personalities. Chewy tends to be bold, while Vader is a little more timid.
Red Crested Turaco
Thanks to our 2015 Adoptive Parents: Michele Wood
North American Ruddy Duck
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Aimee Gertsch, Merrill Crosbie, Josie Counter,
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Gloria Marrufo, Lucee Coy, Kendall Kastney, The Dalton Family, Jadyn Bailey, Samantha Smith, Ivon Urquilla (in honor of Janeht Martin)
Chilean flamingos live in flocks of dozens to tens of thousands of birds along shallow, brackish lakes and rivers throughout South America. The pale pink color of their feathers comes from the food they eat—shrimp and tiny algae—and they are easily identified by their long, skinny legs and thick, curved black and white bill. It takes up to two years for a flamingo to gain its color, so chicks spend the first few years of their life sporting white to grey feathers and slowly growing their pink plumage over time.
Be sure to visit the flamingo flock at the Aviary and see if you can tell which ones are our 3 youngest Chilean flamingos, born during the summer of 2013.
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Patagonian Burrowing Parrot
Milky Eagle Owl
Thanks to our 2016 Adoptive Parents: Landon May
Northern Ground Hornbill
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Isla Wilking, Brandon McConkey
The northern ground hornbill is about 3 feet tall with a 6-foot wingspan. Its plumage is all black except for its white primary feathers. It has a long, slender, slightly curved bill and a casque on top of its bill with what looks like a cut-off opening at the front. It has long legs and eyelashes. There are bare patches of skin around the throat and eyes which signal the sex: the male has a predominately red throat patch while the female has a blue throat patch. Both sexes have blue coloring around the eyes. This species can live 40+ years in captivity.
White-throated Ground Dove
Black-naped Fruit Dove
The violaceous turaco, or violet turaco, has a mostly dark purple body. Its primary and outer secondary feathers are bright red and can be seen when it flies. It has a small orange beak, yellow forehead, and red on the top and back of its head. It also has red skin around its eye and a white line that starts at the bottom of the eye ring. It has a wingspan of approximately 18 inches.
Thanks to our 2017 Adoptive Parents: Tim Tidwell, Theo Klimes
The largest species of toucan, this toucan has a black body with a white bib on its throat and a very prominent, orange bill with a black tip on the end. This species is currently listed by IUCN as Least Concern. However the population is on the decline and is under threat from both deforestation and the illegal pet trade.
African Black-Crowned Crane
It occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although in nests in somewhat wetter habitats. This species and the closely related grey crowned crane (which prefers wetter habitats for foraging) are the only cranes that can nest in trees.
It is about 3.3 ft long, has a 6.2 ft wingspan and weighs about 8 lbs. It's diet includes a wide variety of insects, reptiles, and small mammals. It's listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, and is endangered by habitat loss and degradation.