Friday, December 4, 2009

Meet the Roul-roul Partridge

I like charismatic mega-fauna as well as the next person. Elephants, tigers, emus... let's face it, they're hard to miss, and often a delight to watch. But what of shy mini-fauna? I think some of them should have a chance at the spotlight too!

So without further ado, I give you Rollulus rouloul, the roul-roul partridge. I imagine that this little bird is all but invisible in her forest home in Indonesia. Of course, I know her as an aviary denizen, and quite a stunning one, with a dark green body, black head, and brown wings. But even in an aviary she is easy to overlook until you get to know her. The Roul-roul that I work with is actually rather personable once she warms up to you. I ply her with meal worms, so she often follows me around the exhibit when I clean it, hoping that I might unearth some bugs for her to munch on.

Roul-rouls in the wild are threatened with habitat destruction, although they seem to be more adaptable than many forest birds. That's good, because this species is monotypic, meaning that there are no other species in their genus.

Unfortunately captive breeding of these guys is out of the question at my zoo since we only have the one female. Too bad, since the male is even cuter than the female. He bears a serious expression and a shocking red crest, which together make him look like some sort of tiny gladiator. Roul-roul is such a mouthful for such a little bird. Maybe they should have been called the Spartacus partridge.

5 comments:

  1. I love this post, and I learned something. Sure is a nice-looking bird. But one question. Since you have a male and female, what about breeding these and then finding others in the U.S. gene pool, or they that rare in the U.S.?

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  2. Sadly, we only have a female, and I had to find the photo of the male elsewhere. I wish we could get a male! I'd love to see what the babies would look like!

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  3. The colors are so beautifully muted.

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  4. When I saw the first photo my first impression was that it was the most huggable looking bird I'd ever seen. When I saw the bottom picture I think I changed my mind. They look like they'd pop if you tried to pick one up!

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