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Chestnut Amadina Lonchura castaneothorax

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| Lonchura castaneothorax

Chestnut amadines are common in northern and eastern Australia and New Guinea. Mostly they live in coastal landscapes and most often they are kept in deaf reed and grassy thickets near river flows, swamps and near lagoons. One form is found in New Guinea in the mountains and never in the lowlands. In search of food, most of the time birds spend on the ground, and also cleverly climb the stalks of reeds and cereals, pecking grains from the ears. In search of seeds of grasses, grains of cereals and insects fly into gardens and fields close to a residential person. During nesting, they live in pairs, in the inter-nesting period they gather in huge flocks, visiting grain fields and causing considerable damage to crops. In Northern Australia, where large areas are flooded with water, moistening the rice fields, chestnut-chested Amadins and other birds gather in such huge flocks that, rising into the air, they cover the sun, turning a sunny day into evening dusk. The damage caused by these birds is so great that farmers, protecting their fields, cover them with special nets or hire watchmen who constantly scare away the birds.

Birds arrange their bottle-shaped nests, woven from the stems and leaves of grass, straw and small twigs, low above the ground. Rarely found nests located above 1 m from the ground. In clutch there are from 4 to 7 eggs (usually 6).

There are 6 varieties of chestnut amadinas, distinguished by the color of the nails and upper tail coverts, as well as shades in the color of the plumage of the head. In general, the color of their plumage can be represented as follows. In the male, the top of the head and the back of the neck are from gray and gray-brown to brown. Cinnamon-colored back and cover wings. Upper tail and upper tail coverts from golden yellow to tan. The cheeks and throat are black with small brown specks. The sides of the neck, goiter and upper chest are chestnut brown. The white belly is separated from the chest by a black stripe. The sides and lower tail coverts are black. The sides of the abdomen are brown with alternating black stripes. Fly feathers are light brown. Beak is light gray. The legs are gray.

The female is distinguished by a narrower transverse strip on the chest, and her belly is not white, but the color of baked milk.

In birds of a nominative form, living in eastern Australia, the nuft and upper tail coverts are golden yellow, and the upper part of the head is gray-brown. The color of the throat and chest vary greatly.

In northern Australia, excluding the York Peninsula, birds of a different shape live. They have a more intense and pure black color than the nominative form on their cheeks and throat.

The remaining four forms are common in New Guinea and the adjacent small islands. In northwestern New Guinea, birds live in which the upper part of the head is light gray in color, and their cheeks and throat are pitch black. Upper tail coverts are brownish yellow.

Even brighter, almost gray-white, the upper part of the head of birds living in the central part of the vast lowlands in northern New Guinea, in the flood plain of the Sepik, and on the volcanic island of Manam. The tail and upper tail covers are dark brown.

On the northeastern and southeastern coasts of New Guinea, birds live with a very dark top of their heads and reddish-yellow upper tail coverts.

Another form is found in the central regions of western New Guinea. The upper part of the head of the birds is almost completely brown with a negligible admixture of gray. The upper tail coverts and nadhvil are straw-yellow in color, and the chest is dark chestnut.

In Europe, chestnut-chestnut amadins were brought to Europe in 1860 — to the London Zoo.

Chestnut-chestnut amadins are not only good for their appearance, they are hardy, resistant to disease, always mobile and undemanding to feed. They can be recommended to trained youngsters and amateurs.

In 1952, R. Wit received from New Guinea a pair of chestnut-busted amadines, and soon acquired a second pair bred in captivity in Europe. He placed the first pair of birds in a suitable room. In an aviary of 2 X 2 X 2.3 m in size, he installed reed trunks so that birds could easily climb between them and had the opportunity to observe them. The reed was tied to horizontal branches. On the wall of the enclosure, he hung a nesting box measuring 12x12x15 cm, partially filling it with hay. In addition to chestnut amadinas, in the enclosure, one pair each contained zebra and silver-billed amadins, red-eared astridas and tiny amaranths. To the community of other birds, chestnut-chested Amadins quickly got used to it and soon began to prepare for nesting (having previously taken possession of the cooked nesting booth). They very quickly built a nest of grass and hay. The building material was delivered by the male, and the female was building. Inside the nesting hole they were lined with soft fine hay. After 2 weeks, the first egg was laid. In total, the female laid 3 eggs. Before the birds sat down, R. Wit took away their eggs and put them under the Japanese Amadin. He did not trust chestnut amadins, and therefore he took advantage of a long proven way. After 14 days, one chick out of 3 eggs hatched, in the other two embryos died. The hatched chick had pink skin and white jamming in the corners of the beak, and a horseshoe-shaped pattern in the mouth. At the age of 22 days, the chick flew out of the nest, and after 16 days became independent. He began to shed rather soon. This became noticeable by the first signs of the emerging dark pattern on the sides, by the white spots on the belly and the first black feathers in place of the future black strip on the chest. Shedding ended six months later.

The following year, R. Wit placed both pairs of chestnut-chestnut amadines in open-air cages, which he also arranged with reeds. One pair began to molt and, molting, after 52 days began to nest. The female laid 5 eggs, which Wit did not take away from them, wanting to check how faithfully the birds will fulfill their parental responsibilities. The birds sat very well, alternating throughout the day, and at night they sat together. But as soon as the chicks hatched, the parents immediately threw them out of the nest, although they were not disturbed by anything. The same thing happened a second time. Vit put the third clutch to the Japanese Amadins, and laid their eggs in a nest to the chestnut Amadins. Imagine his surprise when the chestnut chests were safely bred and fed up with a podcast. Japanese Amadins fed five alien chicks. After the fourth laying, Vit gave them a break, separating the male from the female, and laid their eggs on the “nannies”. Despite the fact that there were several free nesting boxes in the aviary, the birds nested all the time in the same one.

A pair of chestnut-billed amadins, bred in captivity, itself safely fed its chicks. The birds bred the chicks twice, and then they began to molt. After 47 days, they stopped molting and nested for the third time. Fertilized were 90% of the eggs. With sufficient moisture, chicks hatched from all fertilized eggs, which were very viable.

Chestnut amadines are undemanding to feed. R. Wit fed his birds with different varieties of millet, moghar and chumiza in a dry and bent form. During the feeding of the chicks, he gave the birds an egg mixture with finely chopped starfish (woodwort). F. Robiller considers it necessary to add egg yolk, flour worms and a large number of germinated cereals to the diet of birds during feeding. When the chicks reach 2 weeks of age, the parents feed them mainly with grain.

The beginning of nesting is manifested in the fact that the male relentlessly chases the female throughout the aviary until the female, exhausted, does not remain sitting on the floor of the aviary. But if the female rests and takes off on a branch, the persecution begins again. Currenting is as follows. First, the male sings, leaning toward the female. Then, continuing to sing, she starts to jump beside her. The ending ends with the fact that the male grabs the feather on the back of the female’s head with his beak and mates with it. During tolling, the male never holds in its beak either a stalk, or a twig, or a feather, as many Astrillidae do.

Birds love heat very much. Usually they choose the sunniest place, ruffle feathers and expose themselves to the sun's rays. In addition, these birds are very fond of swimming. When they change the water, they all together climb into the cap and get wet so that they can not fly up the branch. Males love to sing. From morning till night they carefully sing their song, which often resembles a kenar song.

Chestnut-chestnut Amadins get along well with all the inhabitants of the enclosure. Many lovers claim that in a large enclosure you can keep several pairs of chestnut-chestnut Amadins and there will be no incident between them. Baby chicks are very playful. While they are in the aviary, they have enough entertainment. but in the cage they brighten up the long hours by the fact that they fly out feather or tail feathers from each other or other birds that are with them with pleasure. However, you should hang a piece of hemp rope in the cage, as the birds immediately take I work - swinging her thus for a long time, find something to do, and cease to pull feathers from each other and from the rest of the birds the way, the same pattern can be observed in some chicks Japanese finches, although they have the trait is expressed weaker..

The claws of chestnut amadins grow very quickly, but they must be trimmed carefully, as the nerve extends at the very end of the claw.

Hybrids were obtained with bronze, silver-billed and zebra amadines, with a bald munia and with a masked grass amadina.

Appearance

There are 6 varieties chestnut amadin, characterized by the color of the nails and upper tail coverts, as well as shades in the color of the plumage of the head. In the male, the upper part of the head and neck is gray with a brownish coating, the back is lighter, the lower back and upper tail coverts are golden, the sides of the head and throat are black. The chest is light brown or chestnut, so the birds got their name. From the white abdomen, the chest is separated by a black strip, on the sides there are also small black stripes. Lower tail coverts are black. The two middle feathers in the tail are yellow-brown, the remaining feathers are gray-brown in color with yellowish peaks. The wings of this amadina are light brown, the beak is gray-steel in color, legs are gray. The female is similar in color to the male, but the strip on her chest is somewhat narrower, the abdomen is not pure white, but has a grayish coating.

Lifestyle & Nutrition

During nesting, these Amadins live in pairs, the rest of the time they gather in packs, sometimes reaching enormous numbers. Such clusters of birds raid the fields, causing significant harm. In Australia, even chemical poisons were used to combat chestnut amadina. These birds feed on grass seeds, often cereal crops, and insects. In search of food, most of the time birds spend on the ground, and also cleverly climb the stalks of reeds and cereals, hatching grains from the ears. Only males sing. The song is interesting, includes melodic trills.

Tokovaniye and reproduction

The flowing of chestnut amadines is as follows: first, the male sings, leaning toward the female. Then, continuing to sing, she starts to jump beside her. The current ends with the fact that the male grabs the plumage at the nape of the female’s head with his beak and mates with it. During mating, the male never holds in its beak either a stalk, or a twig, or a feather, as many Astrillidae do.

Chestnut-bred amadina nests in low dense bushes at an altitude of 0.5 to 1.2 m, often in pairs, less often in colonies. Bottle-shaped nests are built from dry grass, plant fibers, the inside of the nest and the tray are lined with soft, thin blades of grass and a feather. In clutch 4-7 (usually 6) white eggs. Both partners incubate her for 13-14 days. Chicks leave the nest at the age of 24-25 days.

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