Deflighting zoo birds and its welfare considerations

For over a century the practice of deflighting has taken place in zoological collections in order to ensure birds remain in open-topped enclosures. Over time, efforts have been made to improve or develop new (surgical) techniques, reduce risk of complications during deflighting and minimise stress and pain during the procedure. However, increased public interest in […]

Implementing portable touchscreen-setups to enhance cognitive research and enrich zoo-housed animals

To understand the evolutionary development of cognition, comparing the cognitive capacities of different animal species is essential. However, getting access to various species with sufficient sample sizes can be very challenging. Zoos, housing large ranges of animal taxa, would offer ideal research environments, but zoo-based studies on cognition are still rare. The use of touchscreen-computers […]

Scaling of body temperature in mammals and birds

1.We examine variation associated with phylogeny in the scaling of body temperature in endotherms, using data from 596 species of mammal and 490 species of bird. 2. Among higher groups of mammals there is statistically significant scaling of body temperature with mass in Marsupialia (positive), Ferae and Ungulata (both negative). In mammalian orders where data […]

Infrared analysis of contour feathers: The conservation of body heat radiation in birds

1. We examined infrared absorption spectra in contour feathers of 10 species of birds to compare infrared features of the downy and pennaceous regions with the mechanisms of conservation of body heat radiation. 2. At 1700 cm 1, a sharp increase in transmittance was observed for downy parts, but not for the distal pennaceous regions. […]

The effect of flicker from fluorescent lights on mate choice in captive birds

The visual systems of birds are hypothesized to have higher temporal resolution than those of humans, suggesting that they may be able to perceive the flicker emitted from conventional low-frequency fluorescent lights (LF; 100 Hz in Europe, 120 Hz in the U.S.A.). These lights are commonly used in the housing of captive birds and this […]

Laboratory birds: refinements in husbandry and procedures


A description of unique fluorescent yellow pigments in penguin feathers


Bird-mammal associations in forest openings of northern Congo (Brazzaville)

Resident and migrant birds and several mammal species utilize natural forest openings to exploit foraging opportunities that are otherwise rare or absent in the dense forest of equatorial Africa. Certain bird species exhibit protocooperative and commensal relationships with these mammals. In a large marshy opening, five species of birds exploited the actions of large terrestrial […]

True colours

It’s only when you begin to see the world as birds do — detecting light in the ultraviolet spectrum — that the full subtlety of their behaviour is revealed. Rex Dalton catches a glimpse.

The ubiquity of avian ultraviolet plumage reflectance

Although several bird species have been shown to reflect ultraviolet (UV) light from their plumages, the incidence of UV reflectance, and therefore the potential for UV or UV-enhanced signals, across the avian tree of life is not known. In this study, we collected reflectance data from the plumages of 312 bird species representing 142 families. […]