Tony Silva NEWS: Aviculture in Brazil

April 16th, 2015 | by Tony Silva
Tony Silva NEWS: Aviculture in Brazil
Tony Silva NEWS

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is, to me, the most beautiful city in the world: the forests of Tijuca, Christ the Redeemer, the beaches, one of which one inspired Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes to pen the song “Girl from Ipanema” and the mountains, which emerge from the ground as giant cones, makes for an unbelievable sight. This stunning city was the venue for a conference sponsored by the avicultural society ACPERJ & RJ, the brainchild of aviculturist André Ismerim, who is also the publisher of the glossy magazine Pássaros Exóticos. Between 13 and 14 of March, the conference room attached to the Rio de Janeiro Zoological Gardens was the venue for breeders from throughout Brazil.

I have been visiting Brazil since I was a teenager. I have seen aviculture in the country evolve from the stamp collector mentality of the 1980s to a world perspective with the highest level of professionalism at present. The amount of data exchanged at the conference equaled that which could be shared on any major world forum and revealed what I had known: Brazil is an avicultural powerhouse.



André Ismerim. (c) Tony Silva


Márcia Weinzettl is a biologist with 25 years experience. She has impressed me more and more with each visit, as her understanding of parrot reproduction and husbandry is envious. This understanding is based on solid experience. As an example, just during the past 8 years, she reared 51 Hyacinth Macaws Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, nearly 600 Golden Conures Guaruba guarouba, and almost 600 amazon parrots of three species (Amazona aestiva, Amazona vinacea and Amazona ochrocephala), amongst a long list of species that range from Ara macaws to Yellow-faced Parrots Alipiopsitta xanthops and a difficult subject—the Red-browed Amazon Amazona rhodocorytha. Readers by now will have guessed at her level of experience.

Márcia´s lecture provided several interesting charts, all reproduced here with her permission. One chart provided temperature range and a feeding timetable for chicks. This information is summarized below and will prove to be tremendously valuable to breeders of neo-tropical parrots


Stage of development                      Frequency                                    Formula consistency

1 day of age 10 times daily 6 parts water, 1 part solid
2 days of age 9 times daily 3 parts water, 1 part solid
3 days of age 8 times daily 2 parts water, 1 part solid
4 days of age 7 times daily As above
5 days of age 6 times daily As above
6 days of age to eyes opening 5 times daily As above
Eyes opening to the start of pin feathering 4 times daily As above
Pin feathering 3 times daily As above
Start of feathering 2 times daily and offering solid food As above
Until weaning 1-2 times daily


The above frequency is interpreted as follows:


Per day   Schedule (hours)

10 0700 0800 0930 1100 1230 1400 1530 1630 18001900
9 0700 0830 1000 1130 1300 1430 1600 1730 1900
8 0700 0830 1000 1200 1400 1600 1730 1900
7 0700 0900 1100 1300 1500 1700 1900
6 0700 0900 1130 1400 1630 1900
5 0700 1000 1300 1630 1900
4 0700 1100 1500 1900
3 0700 1300 1900
2 0700 1900
1 1900


The temperature and humidity she recommends from hatching until weaning is as follows:

Age                               Temperature                        Humidity

First 6 hours after hatching 37.2 deg C Above 40%
Day 0-5 36.6 deg C Above 40%
Day 5 to opening of eyes 35.0deg C Above 40%
Opening of eyes to commencement of feathering 33.8 deg C Above 40%
Feathers covering body 33.3 deg C Above 40%
Fully feathered Ambient temperature Above 40%


Márcia feeds the young 12% of the body weight and expects a 20-25% weight loss at weaning; chicks typically gain excess weight during rearing and must shed this weight in order to fledge.


Other valuable advice offered by Márcia during the convention was as follows:

  • Understand that disinfecting hand-feeding instruments requires that they first be washed to remove food and organic matter and then disinfected. The concept behind this process is that food and organic matter can reduce the disinfection efficacy.
  • Weight loss in an incubated egg tends to be less during the first eggs of the clutch. As the hen lays more eggs, shell porosity declines and thus weight loss will increase. This is an important consideration for artificial incubation.
  • When fostering young, take into consideration the natural diet of the species. A lory for example could not successfully rear a Golden Conure, whose fat requirement is very high.



Márcia Weinzettl (c) Tony Silva


Alvaro Blasina was the second lecturer. He is the developer of the first canary plumage mutation developed outside of Europe. He discussed why humans keep birds and identified the reasons as follows: 1) for personal pleasure, 2) for financial gain and 3) for showing. The same individual can fall under one or all three categories. Finally he discussed the importance of genetics and that the corresponding breeding program must be measurable and subjective, with each person interpreting beauty differently.

Marcelo Lago spoke on LoroParque and showed photographs of the birds and breeding center. For those that have never been to Tenerife, the images kept them captivated. He participated at the VIII International Parrot Congress and described the convention during his speech.

Andrey Naves is 19 years old and very passionate about birds. Watching him talk and then visiting a collection was a tremendous joy, for aviculture´s survival depends on getting the next generation involved.He knew the birds down to the subspecific level and could talk about any subject—geographical variation, nesting boxes, diet, etc. Andrey shared his presentation with AyrtonPacca. They discussed non Australianlories—a group that is disappearing at lightning speed from both aviculture and the wild. These birds require coordinated breeding in order to keep them from falling into the abyss of extinction.



Andrey and Ayrton described the interest in lories in Brazil but also the peril of hybridization, fermenting food and attrition from feeding them the incorrect diet. They are working on a conservation project with lories within Brazil. They discussed how 60% of the Lorius lory in Brazil are hybrids, as birds are incorrectly paired. Their objective is to inform holders and to encourage breeding by bringing together isolated individuals of the same species to form pairs.

Several others lectured at the conference but the venue being in the Rio de Janeiro Zoological Gardens, I kept escaping to see the birds, mammals and reptiles. Two memorable birds come to mind: the Harpy Eagles and a pair of Lear´s Macaws Anodorhynchus leari on display in an enclosure that duplicates their cliff face nesting grounds.

This was the second conference. It doubled the attendance from the one held last year. The next one promises to be even larger. I hope to encourage aviculturists from around the world to attend and then to visit some of the collections in Brazil, where many incredible parrots are maintained.

So mark your calendar for March 2016 and set your sights on Brazil.


Title photo: (c) HVL. Usipa Aviary, in Ipatinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.



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