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Ringed Astrild (Stizoptera bichenovii)

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| Stizoptera bichenowii

There are two geographical forms of ringed astrilids: eastern and western. The eastern form, prevalent in the east of Australia, in the eastern regions of the Northern Territory, in the state of Queensland and in the northeastern regions of New South Wales, is considered nominative. In the male, the crown, nape, back of the neck and back are faded brown with darker shallow transverse stripes. Upper tail and upper tail coverts white, tail brown-black. The sides of the head, beard, throat, chest and belly are white with a creamy yellow tint on the sides and bottom of the bucha. From the forehead, over the eye, through the ear and throat passes a black strip in the shape of a ring. Through the bottom of the chest, connecting the base of the wings, the second black stripe runs parallel to the first. The covering wings are dark brown with white transverse stripes arranged so that a net pattern is obtained on the folded wing. The lower tail coverts are black. Eye dark brown, legs light gray.

The female is colored in the same way, only the lower part of the body is dull and the yellowish tint is not very pronounced or completely absent. Although some experts prove that the female’s strip passing through the breast is somewhat narrower than that of the male, it is noted that this is not always true, as females with a rather wide black stripe are often found. For example, in the female of my pair of birds this strip is not at all narrower than in the male.

Birds of the western form differ from birds of the ¬ nominative form by black naduvstvom. They live from the state of Northern Territory to the northern regions of the state of Western Australia.

Ringed Astrilda live in small flocks mainly in the plains of the savannah, overgrown with solitary trees and dense shrubs, near water bodies. Willingly keep on the ground, where they collect grass and other small seeds, which are their main feed. During the feeding period, the chicks eat small insects. Scared, they do not fly away far, but try to take refuge in the nearest bush. They arrange their spherical nest in grass, shrubs and in tree branches, but never higher than 2 m from the ground. We also met nests in hollows of trees, under the roofs of houses and in climbing plants on tree trunks and walls of houses. Their strong nests with a lateral notch are woven from dry grass and small roots and are lined with feathers or plant fibers. In clutch there are from 4 to 8 small eggs. Departed chicks for the night return to their parent's nest.

Ringed astrilds were first imported to London in 1870. And although the first import was in the last century, they remained rare birds for a long time, and only after the Second World War were imported in sufficient quantities. In our country, they appeared in the late 70s. Currently, these are very popular birds for all lovers.

All foreign authors write that ringed astrildes are not suitable for cellular maintenance, since they are very sensitive to all kinds of disturbances, do not nest in small rooms, and if they nest, they never hatch chicks. Robiller writes that even in large cells, it is impossible to breed annular astrilds. Therefore, he advises to keep them in well-overgrown bird rooms or in indoor enclosures, where they become almost careless and are not afraid of anything. In summer, they can be kept in open enclosures, but with a prerequisite: the place for the night of the birds should be heated.

But our lovers did not read either Robiller or other foreign authors and, despite such authoritative statements, contained ringed astrildes in their cells. The first to succeed in breeding Moscow lovers. First, the "nannies" were hatched and fed from their chicks, then the ringed Astrilda themselves fed their chicks. Now, many lovers throughout the country have their own hatching birds. For example, I have them nest well and feed the nestlings in a box-type cage measuring 70 X 40 X 35 cm. However, you need to know that these astrilds cannot stand wet and cold environments, although they bathe with pleasure on hot and dry days. . In a cold and humid environment, they quickly become ill and can die. In such conditions, they will not nest. So, in the British Isles because of the constantly wet weather and foggy air, the English lovers for many years, until they found out the reasons, could not achieve significant success in their breeding.

R. Wit writes about the content of ringed astrildes, which he acquired directly from Australia. The birds acclimatized quite quickly and well, and in the first year they built nests in the bushes of the garden aviary, in the second year - in nesting boxes 12x12x15 cm in size. To build the nest, R. Vit put various building materials in the aviary, mainly consisting of leaves of different herbs . The male wore material, the female built a nest and lined the nest hole with a large number of feathers. Clutches were from 4 to 6 eggs. Incubation lasted 11 days. Chicks hatched from almost all eggs. They had black skin covered with whitish fluff. After 20-25 days, the chicks flew out of the nest. Parents very carefully fed the chicks and took care of them. Chicks became independent 2 weeks after departure from the nest. At this time, there was a need to send them to another room, because the parents began to chase chicks. At the age of 1.5 months, the chicks began to molt and after 8-10 weeks took the form of adult birds.

R. Vit fed his birds with different varieties of millet, mogar, chumiza and Senegalese millet, gave egg mixture and green fodder. In addition, he fed them flour worms and a variety of small insects, caught by an entomological net, which the birds eagerly ate. In winter, R. Vit added vitamins to drinking water or to the egg mixture.

F. Robiller advises feeding ringed astrilles small varieties of millet, moghar, poppy seeds, lettuce seeds, seeds of meadow herbs, dandelion, ankle and thistle. During the nesting period, he recommended giving a sufficient amount of crushed flour worms, green stellate (oyster) and semi-mature grass seeds.

My ringed astrilles nested in a cage in December. They arranged a nest in two canary nests connected together (in the form of a ball with a hole). The female laid 4 eggs, on which the birds sat very diligently.

Both birds sat together all the time, flying only to feed. But not one chick emerged from their first masonry. Obviously, the reason for this was a very dry and hot environment. The eggshell and skin are dry and the chicks could not peck. Soon the birds nested again and the female laid 5 eggs. This time, in the room where the bird cage was placed, a humidifier worked daily for several hours, and a bowl of water was installed in the cage. In early January, 3 chicks hatched, which their parents fed and warmed well. The chicks grew well and after 3 weeks flew out of the nest.

At first, I was embarrassed by the nesting of ringed astrilles in winter, when the assortment of feed was somewhat limited, but, as it turned out later, the excitement was in vain. I fed the birds with different varieties of millet, both dry and peeled, moghar, canary seed, green food and finely chopped egg. During the feeding period, the chicks gave the birds egg food, grated carrots, young rape seedlings and, of course, dry and nibbled grain. He gave dried Daphnia, previously scalding them with boiling water. There was always enough calcium in the cell.

Most authors strongly remind that annular astrida constantly require a large amount of calcium, which they need to give in different forms.

When pairing, you must remember that partners should not be closely related, as this drastically reduces the viability of the chicks and leads to their degradation. The first sign of the beginning degradation is a decrease in the percentage of egg fertility and an increase in the mortality of the embryos and chicks. Partners in close kinship poorly feed the chicks, unrelated - feed well. If the birds refuse to lay their eggs, the latter must be placed under the Japanese Amadin, which perfectly serve as hens and nannies.

Hybrids between two forms have always had a white tail. Usually black color overlaps white, and in this case, on the contrary, white color is stronger.

Ringed Astrilda

Ringed Astrild is a funny little bird native to Australia. Astrida are about 2.5-3 times smaller than canaries, and weigh only 10-12 grams. Ringed, these birds are named for a specific color: one black ring frames the muzzle, and the second separates the chest from the abdomen. The chest is gray-white, the belly is creamy, the muzzle is white, the beak is silver in color, a broad black band extends from the beak, brightening to gray-brown with a light wavy pattern on the back. The comparatively long tail of this bird is black, and its wings are black to a white dot. There are two subspecies that differ in the color of the overtail: one has white, the other has black. Sexual dimorphism is not expressed. Lovers point out that the male has a white chest and a wider and “regular” ring, while the female has a more dirty gray chest, and the ring may be thin and with a fuzzy outline. In addition, to identify the sex of ringed astrilles in appearance, experience and at least a few birds sitting next to each other are required. A more reliable sign can be considered male singing - creaky and similar to a hackneyed record. Females do not sing.

Ringed Astrildes periodically arrange roll call, reminiscent of meow. They actively respond to similar sounds: ambulance siren, cats meow, etc. In addition, the repertoire of birds has shorter, jerky urges.

Ringed Astrild is a peaceful bird. In the presence of a spacious aviary, they can be maintained and even nested in colonies. For breeding, it is better to give the birds the opportunity to choose a soul mate for themselves. The pairs in this species are very strong. A favorite pastime of partners in love is combing each other's feathers. Ringed amadines and astrildes are also peaceful, but it is important to remember that they are able to produce hybrid offspring with many species of astrilids. When trying to nest a colony of these birds in an insufficiently large aviary, aggression may occur. For the maintenance and breeding of one pair of ringed astrilles, a large cell is suitable - from 80 cm in length. When choosing a cage, it is also important to consider the distance between the rods and the presence of other gaps and crevices that these small birds can potentially use to escape.

Ringed Astrild can eat the standard food for exotic Amadins - a grain mixture containing different varieties of millet. It is good to periodically add a boiled egg or special egg food to the diet, as well as live insects, for example, flour worm. This is especially true during the breeding period. It is also useful to give greens to the birds: dandelion leaves, woodwort, timothy, knotweed, etc. Astrilds are not indifferent to fruits (for example, apples). It must be remembered that such a small bird has a very fast metabolism, so leaving it for a long time without food is dangerous. Constant availability of fresh water is also required.

Ring-shaped astilda does not tolerate cooling below + 20C. In addition, breeders point to the need for calcium supplementation, in addition to the constant presence of sepia in the cell.

Ringed Astrilda reach maturity early, but breeders unanimously recommend that they not nest before 9 months. Practically any nest of a closed or half-closed type is suitable for nesting: wicker, box, etc. As nesting material, you can offer grass and coconut fibers, but try not to give too long, because the birds can get entangled in them and get injured.

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