Breeding time for some species at Loro Parque Fundación

January 10th, 2022 | by Rafael Zamora Padron
Breeding time for some species at Loro Parque Fundación

The last months of the year are perhaps the most exciting in terms of surprises in the breeding of the most extraordinary parrot species for these latitudes.   While it is true that African parrots, such as the Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus) may adopt the European spring calendar to start breeding, it is no less true that a large number of pairs prefer to wait until October and November to start their courtship and breeding. In fact they start at the end of August and beginning of September in their first phase, being therefore the time when we should pay attention to them, especially to those pairs that were inactive during the rest of the year to follow their instinct at the time when many others like the Asian species are in their stage of maximum rest and end of their plumage moult.

Black cockatoos are one of the species that lay eggs exactly at this time of year. And they are one of the species that need special attention since it is frequent that these eggs are not always laid inside their nests.  The supply of fresh material inside the trunks where they nest, which are usually vertical and with a top opening, is very important.  And while the specialized staff working in the Loro Parque Fundación breeding center strives to prepare the nests of the rest of the majority of the species for the following season, they must combine the changes in diet and enrichment needed by these other species that are in the middle of the breeding season.

Chicks of Thick-billed Parrot in nest box (c) M.Weinzettl/LPF

Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrrhyncha) are also late-season breeders. And we are proud to see how several chicks are growing at a good pace and how their parents continue with signs of breeding activity. A species as peculiar as it is complex in habits and needs. Both parents and offspring need attention unique to their species, which requires special considerations each season. Avid consumers of fresh pine bark, they need their calcium metabolism to be kept in optimal conditions. Sunshine should not be lacking, as well as bathing options, weather permitting.   Each birth of this species is of great importance since they are facing a decrease of their forests due to aggressive logging in their natural habitat.  Having data on their growth as well as the development of clinical and breeding protocols are fundamental to offer a guarantee of safety to this emblematic Mexican species.

With Cape Parrots (Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis) something similar happens. It is now when their chicks, with those huge beaks, grow at a good pace in our facilities.  This species has breeding success from the months of April and May, being frequent that they continue until October with the laying of eggs and rearing of chicks.

Chick of Red-tailed Amazon raised by Red-lored Amazon as adoptive parents .  (c) M.Weinzettl/LPF

The synchronization of some species has also allowed the conservation team to help with pairs of different species to foster offspring of others that need a little more help. Thus, several more Red-tailed amazon (Amazona brasiliensis) chicks have been raised by a pair of Yellow-headed parrot (Amazona oratrix). One of these little ones has also been adopted by a pair of Red-lored amazon (Amazona autumnalis). This technique allows them to grow up with guarantees of direct parental care and  the biologist Marcia Weinzettl, our curator, is particularly pleased with the evolution of these little ones of such an important species that is very difficult to reproduce even in their country of origin.

Cleaning and removing nests in these months means for many species a pause. It is important for their routines to change. Especially in pairs that often use the nests where they breed to sleep during the year.   It is necessary for them to change their routines for a few months so that the stimuli prior to breeding continue to work and give them time to change their circumstances.  The signals we give them should be oriented to give them the opportunity to do different behaviors according to the season. And it is optimal that the parrots notice these changes.

Author: Rafael Zamora Padrón, Scientific Director of LPF

Title photo: Chicks of Kuhl´’s Cape Parrot.   M.Pérez/ LPF


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