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Green Astrild, Mandingoa nitidula

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Green Astrild. Zelenospin Astrid. Mandingoa nitidula (Hartlaub, 1865)

Squad:
Passeriformes

Family:
Estrildidae

English:
Green-backed twinspot

Scientific:
Mandingoa nitidula

Green (green-backed) Astrildes common in western, central and eastern parts of Africa.
They live secretly in dense and tall grass, in shrubs at the edges of the forest and in forest glades. Found in the mountains at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level.

They feed on small grass seeds and small insects. Feed is collected on the ground. In addition, they feed on rice and millet fields located near the forest, and do not fly far from their habitats. Spherical nests with a side notch or with a take-off tube are built in tall grass, choosing the thickest thickets.

There are four distinct geographical forms.which are not much different from each other.

The conditions for keeping green astrilds of all varieties are the same. These birds have a calm character and get along well in a common aviary with other bird species. But, despite the calm nature, they are very shy and can die from shock.
Green Astrildes basic form live in Sierra Leone, Ghana, southern Nigeria, in the western and southern regions of Cameroon.

The male has a light green moss back, its wings and tail are olive green. The tail and upper tail coverts range from yellow-green to faded orange-red and even to bright red. The lower tail covers, sides and lower leg are light green. The strip above the brown eye, throat and goiter to the upper part of the chest is intense red, sometimes on the sides with an admixture of greenish. The lower green part of the chest gradually turns into a saturated black color on the belly, along which sharply defined round white dots are located at a distance of 3 mm from each other - a characteristic feature of this form. Around the brown eye there is a bright red ring that gives contrast, which makes the iris of the eye look very catchy. Cheeks almost brownish red almost to the eye. Intense black beak with coral red jaw blades and tip. The legs and claws are pink.
The female has a darker coloration of the back. Her throat and goiter are yellow-green, and the lower part of the body is lighter than that of the male, and the white dots on the belly are less frequently distributed and have an ovoid shape. The cheeks and strip above the eye are brown, the eyelid is gray-blue, the beak is the same as that of the male, only the red color is less pronounced.

Green-backed Astrildes island form They live on the island of Masis-Ngema-Biyogo (Bioko) in the Gulf of Biafra and have very slight differences from the previous form. The male has a green back with a strong orange tint, the bridle and plumage around the eye are red. The rest of the plumage, as in the nominative form.
The female has a bridle and plumage around her eye red, the beard is brownish yellow, and the goiter and upper tail coverts are yellow-orange. The rest of the plumage, as in females of the previous form. Females are noticeably smaller than males.

During the acclimatization of green astrildes of these two forms, it is necessary to ensure that the temperature in the room is maintained from 20 to 26 ° C, since lowering or sudden fluctuations in temperature lead to bird diseases.

After acclimatization, they are not very demanding on high temperatures and feel good at 18 ° C, but during the nesting period you need to maintain a temperature of 20 to 24 ° C and even higher.
To keep one pair of birds, a large, spacious cage with a suitable shelter made of reeds, tufts of grass, coniferous or deciduous branches is enough. Shelter needs to be arranged somewhere in the far corner of the cage, where the birds feel more secure.

Of course for breeding birds are best suited well overgrown aviary. If this is an open-air cage, then it is best to plant bushes of hawthorn, lilac, hazel, rakita or elderberry in it, plant it with timothy, bonfire, grate or kiyak, and put up climbing plants on the side walls.
If the temperature does not fall below 20 ° C, the green astrilles begin to nest.

At this time, the plumage of the male takes on a more intense color. The nest is built from plant fibers, moss, roots, stems and leaves of grass.

During mating, the male puffs feathers on the head, neck, throat and chest and appears much larger. In his beak, he holds a stalk of grass and publishes a wedding song, consisting of eight different heights of melodic sounds, accompanied by several short tak-tak sounds.

Before mating, the female turns the tail to the side and vibrates quickly. Mating occurs on a branch or in a nest. It may happen that even before the construction of the nest is completed, the female will lay the first egg in the nest hole.

A characteristic feature of these birds is a welcome ceremony. When a newcomer enters an aviary or cage where there are already individuals of this species, he utters a trill and, having reached the highest point in the welcoming cry, puffs feathers on his neck and cheeks, seeking reconciliation and permission to join the sedentary bird.

In the inter-nesting period, the birds are explained to each other with the help of repeated clicking “tak” ending in high zuyit. With excitement and danger, a short and jerky "zit-zit" or "zit-terrerrrr" is issued.

Birds are very beautiful east african formbut, unfortunately, they do not tolerate temperatures below 22 ° C. These birds have a very calm and gullible character, get along well with other species of Astrididae.

Only a male is engaged in the construction of the nest for 8-12 days. If the birds do not have a suitable place for the construction of the nest, then they willingly settle in nest boxes or in hollows with dimensions 25X15X12 cm.

During currenting, which always takes place on a bitch or branch, a male with a stalk in its beak curtsies in front of a female sitting nearby, often crouches and always keeps his head vertically upward. The female of this form mates with the male always only inside the nest. The male’s wedding song sounds all the time and is even heard from the nest. It is a trill of a pipe chorus and ends with three, four intermittent champing sounds of “chak-chakk”. This song continues until pairing inside the nest, and then abruptly breaks. Both partners incubate eggs.

For breeding it is enough for these beautiful birds to have an aviary, where it would be possible to maintain the necessary temperature and humidity. Subject to these conditions and proper feeding, birds willingly nest. In the nesting period, males perform funny mating rituals, constantly sing and build nests.

In clutch usually 3 to 6 eggs. During the day, both parents warm the masonry, alternating, and at night they sit together. Hatching lasts 12-13 days. Chicks hatch entirely pink, right to the tip of the tiny beak. But in the early days, their skin begins to darken and takes on a gray color. The back and head of the hatched chicks are covered with a grayish-white long down, the pharynx in the open mouths is saturated pink-red, and in the corners of the small beaks the phosphorescent light brown papillas are combined with a white-bluish thickening. The number and location of papillas in a species is always the same. Papillas are enlarged by the 6th week, and after another 4 weeks they are blurred and completely lost. Already on the 4th – 5th day from the nest, faint voices of chicks begging for food were heard: “zip-zip”.

Green Astrilles jealously guard their nest. If the birds feel the danger, then they violently click their beaks, trying to grab the enemy. The grown up chicks do the same. At first, both parents tirelessly feed the chicks, but from the 12th day this concern rests only with the female, the male believes that he has enough. At the age of 3 weeks, the chicks fly out of the nest fully fledged.
In general, their color is gray-green with no white dots on the bottom of the case. The plumage in the eye area and on the chin is dull brown-yellow, the beak is gray with a black-brown tip and apex. The chicks that have flown out of the nest return for a long time to spend the night in the parent's nest. A week after departure, they become completely independent and the female ceases to feed them.
At the age of 1.5 months, the chicks begin to molt, and after another 3 months, molting ends and they become sexually mature.
At the age of six months, green astrildes can be nested.

Main feed for green astrildes - small varieties of millet (moghar, chumiza, Senegalese millet), annual bluegrass seeds and other small grass seeds. An important component of the diet is animal protein feed. Without it, it is impossible to achieve not only breeding, but also nesting birds. And in order for the birds to be healthy, protein feed is absolutely necessary. Birds should also be given fresh forest land, in which they are very fond of digging, looking for small pegs and pecking in it. In addition, they peck the earth itself, taking along with it some minerals.

E.S. Zherdev "Feathered Rainbow"


Zelenospin Astrid - a miniature and mobile bird - is common in West, East and Central Africa: in the south of Ethiopia, southeast Sudan, in Kenya, in Sierra Leone, Ghana, in the south of Nigeria, in the south-west of Cameroon, in South Africa, on south of Mozambique, as well as on the island of Macias Nama Biyogo (formerly Fernando Po).

Astrilde birds are painted in contrasting tones. The upper body of the male is grassy-green, the lower back and tartar are orange-red. Fly and tail feathers are dark green. The red “bridle”, throat and chest, as well as “glasses” around the eyes are painted red. The lower tail coverts, lower legs, and middle abdomen are olive green. The remaining feathers of the abdomen are black, covered with frequent white dots. The two-colored beak is black at the base, red at the apex, legs brown. The female has only red feathers near her eyes. On the head and throat, the plumage is yellowish, the undertail is light brown. The rest of the color is like that of a male. Young birds are olive-green, the “bridle" and the area around the eyes is yellow-brown.

Green-backed Astrilles live in thickets of shrubs, in high dense grass, on the edges of forests and on forest glades. They lead a secretive lifestyle. Inhabit mostly plains and lowlands
areas, but also found in the mountains at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level. The voice is quiet, reminiscent of the chirping of a cricket. Birds of this species feed on grass seeds and small insects, but sometimes
feed on rice and millet fields located near forests. Astrid's spherical nests twist in the dense grass, having a letok on the side.

Four subspecies are described, individuals of which differ in size and distribution of red tones in the plumage. The rarest is considered an island subspecies that lives only on the island of Macias Nama Biyogo. Interestingly, on the island of Zanzibar, the green-backed Astrild is a favorite cell bird.

This species was first introduced to Europe in 1934-1935, the next batch was imported in 1953 and in 1960-1961. As a rule, representatives of the eastern and western subspecies entered European markets. Zelenospinny astrild is hard to tolerate transportation. Many birds die before they acclimatize. Newly brought astrildes must be placed in a warm room with a temperature of at least 20 ° C and provide them with a sufficient amount of live food. First time
ant eggs and flour worms should be present in the diet. If mealworms are large, then the birds eat only their insides, and leave the chitinous shell, and eat the small worms whole. Gradually, green-backed astrilles are transferred to the usual ones for small weavers.

Birds that have adapted to new conditions can be kept both in individual cages and in large summer cages. In the Moscow Zoo, this species was kept in the outdoor enclosures of the Singing Row with other small weavers. Birds live here from mid-May to early October, tolerate temperature extremes up to 0 ° C and even small frosts.

For nesting, the astrilles are planted in separate aviaries or spacious cages, which are decorated with dense shrubs, sheaves of reeds or tall grass. In the absence of scenery, they can nest in houses. The material for construction is soft grass or hay, various plant fibers and roots. The tray is lined with feathers. In clutch 4-6 white eggs. The incubation period is 12-13 days. Both parents incubate alternately in the daytime and at night, hatched chicks are fed with insects.

For feeding birds at this time, you can use flour worms, ant eggs, aphids (collecting branches of wormwood and other plants densely covered with these insects), Drosophila flies, housefly larvae, as well as soft food with a large proportion of chicken eggs.

Young birds leave the nest at the age of 3 weeks and within a week become independent. From this time they can be separated from their parents. At the age of 1.5 months, the birds begin to molt, and by 3 months they fully wear an adult outfit. The green-backed Astrilda become very mature. A case has been reported when a couple nests at the age of 10 weeks. The female laid 4 fertilized eggs, although by this time the astrid had not yet managed to fully wear the adult plumage.

The mating behavior of males is reminiscent of the behavior of moths and other astrilles. Mating occurs both in the nest and on the branches. For their original appearance and gentle nature, the birds received well-deserved recognition from our fans.

V. Ostapenko "Birds in your house."

From the Internet - experience in keeping, feeding and breeding:

"the grain mixture is: -
chumiza, Senegalese millet, paiza, canary seed, nougat (niger), sesame seeds, millet white and yellow, sifting herbs -
the norm is such that until 20-21 hours there would be no grain left in the feeder, otherwise they are great lovers to rustle in the feeder for the night, they are easily fattened and then put on a diet,
they take well the sprouted grain, soak the main mixture, gave the sprouted wheat separately or not, it’s not clear but everyone threw it out of the feeder, in general they are interested, they take ORLUX well, they’ve got a mix of flour worm 2 times a week, and on arrival and molt every day, I’m trying to accustom to an ant egg, from a wet mash, they choose broccoli and a flour worm. "© (Lwnzoo, Ukraine, Kiev)

"LWN zoo, I mainly focused on your diet. I, it seems to me, have less variety than you.
In addition to the usual grain mixture, I also give: chumizu in ears of corn, paizu, sprouted seed (canary, special grain for JR BIRDS seedlings, sprout ordinary grain mixture for feeding). Twice a week I give a kind of a mash-up - that is, fresh grated carrots, having previously squeezed the juice out of it manually, mix them with a special Orlyux egg mixture, which includes crackers, hamarus and a bunch of some other ingredients, add the grown wheat greens or oats (finely chopped). I grow oats and wheat on the windowsill myself. Two-three times a week, the butcher's and frozen ant eggs.
And during the molting period, live food gave daily (either a butcher’s or an ant egg), as you do. Personally in my experience - it helped in molting. Thanks again. Well, during the active molting period, I had to deposit them and give ORLUX MUTA-VIT vitamins for 10 days daily, since molting was very active © (I have been using this for a long time, thanks for the GA advice).
***************
. my green-backed courtships were as follows: - The male stretched out, threw back his head and bounced on the perch and sang accordingly. And the female funny puffed feathers on her head, as if someone had ruffled them with her hand on the top of her head and jumped around the male. Then (it was the funniest thing, he suddenly started running around the perch here and there and banging it with his beak, like a woodpecker. And when other birds tried to sit on that perch, he immediately drove them away. "© (evelin, Russia Moscow)

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