Besides its beauty, this bird has characteristics which make it excellent for breeding.
With its exotic beauty, made even more distinguished by its crest, the Calopsita decorates the place where it is. It is even more attractive because of its size, about 30cm, and the great variety of colors. It may be placed in aviaries with other species, something that is rare in birds, accepting with its peaceful temperament, the presence of smaller birds. And there are more qualities. It doesn't bother the neighborhood because it is quiet, and may add cheerfulness to the home, by learning to talk and whistle. It is easy to be bred, because it eats little, reproduces easily and doesn't have destructive habits. Besides, it lives long, an average of 20 years.
Originally from Australia, it is from the family of the cockatoos (Psittacidae). In nature, it eats seeds, fruit and insects. Unlike other members of its family, who like to stay on the tree tops, this one likes to eat on the ground. In nature, it mates in the rain season, when food is more abundant. In captivity, breeding may occur all year long. It makes its nest in previously existing tree holes, usually eucalypt trees near water.
The inumerous colors that exist currently come from mutations achieved by breeders, several of which have emerged in the last 15 years, some very recent, and hard to find in stores. The original variety, found in nature, has a gray body, and white wing tips. The male's crest is yellow on a yellow head, and female's yellowish gray on a gray head. Both have "cheeks" formed by a red round spot on each side of the face, with a lighter tone in the female. The tail is completely black on the male, and black and yellow in the female.
Described scientifically for the first time in 1792, the Calopsita started to be part of European aviaries only in 1884, and met with a greater expansion from 1949 on, with the emerging of the first mutation, the harlequin, in California, USA.
Price: From US$ 40.00 and higher.
Colors: The most common are: Harlequin - part of the feathers in gray and light yellow, yellow head, red cheeks and yellow crest; Cinnamon - brown substitutes gray; Perl - yellow face with gray dots, yellow crest with gray stripes, back feathers from white to yellow, yellow tail, chest and abdomen in yellow and gray stripes; Lutino - predominant color is white, with red cheeks and eyes, yellow head and crest; White Face - male has white head, gray crest and white wing tips, female has gray body, white wing tips and inside of tail feathers in black and white stripes; Fulvo - red eyes, light cinnamon body, with difusão de amarelo suave, and face in intense yellow. There are also the most rare ones: Recessive Silver - red eyes and silver body; and Dominant Silver - black eyes, yellow face and crest, and red cheeks.
Feeding: A mixture of 20% birdseed, 50% millet, 15% coated rice, 10% oat, and 5% sunflower should be given daily. Dog food 2 or 3 times a week, as well as fruit, chopped vegetables and green vegetables such as chicory and kale (well washed). Green corn should be given daily or every other day (mandatorily daily when there are babies), as well as sprouted sunflower, dried corn, millet, whole oat, wheat and rice, dried bread in pieces (preferrably whole wheat bread). Washed sand and crushed oysters to help digestion and as a source of calcium (specially during breeding). Ground or chopped vegetal coal should be added to sand.
Housing: 1 x 0,4 x 0,5m cages for one couple with a wood nest on the outside (horizontal box measuring 20 x 20cm front, with round entrance, and 35cm long); two perches with different diameters, varying from 1,5 to 2,5cm. Cage should be placed in a ventilated room or shed, with no air draft, and where it receives morning sun. 3 x 1 x 2m aviary for one couple, and 4 x 3 x 2m for the babies, made of concrete, covered with clay roofing tile (1/3 of aviary) protecting food troughs and nest. Galvanized canvas ( 1/2 inches), concrete floor with water draining. Two wood perches, clay bowls, and a place to bathe.
Reproduction: From 12 months old, on. Identification through sexual dimorphism. Litters of 4 to 7 eggs, with incubation of 17 to 22 days. Separate babies from parents after they are 8 weeks old. It reproduces the whole year round, but it's advisable to get only 2 or 3 litters per year (to end reproduction, just take nest away).
Teaching it to talk and whistle: Feed it on the palm of hand since baby, raise separate from other birds; exercise daily with a lot of patience.
Reading Material: Criação de Calopsitas, by Carlos E. C. Torloni, Lis Gráfica Editora Ltda., São Paulo, Brazil.
We would like to thank the assistance and text editing done
by Carlos Eduardo C. Torloni, breeder of Calopsitas.
Research and text: Carmen Olivieri Text editor: Marcos Pennacchi
Picture: Fernando Torres de Andrade
Owner: Carlos Eduardo Torloni