Diamond birds, for friends, just diamonds, erroneously also called Bengalini, scientifically "Taeniopygia guttata Vieillot”Are passerine birds belonging to the Estrildidae family. Their natural habitat is the savannah and subtropical dry areas, but they are rustic and adaptable also to very different climatic conditions.
So here they are now at ease even in the city, even close to humans, in areas with climates ranging from semi-desert to temperate. One thing is essential for diamond birds, the presence of permanent sources of fresh water. We find them by nature very common on the coasts ofAustralia and the Sunda Islands but he flutters around Indonesia and Tasmania where he naturalized.
Tangerine diamond birds
THE Taeniopygia guttata castanotis are the most widespread subspecies of diamond birds, are the largest and considered the true progenitors of the current specimens that are bred as cage and aviary birds even in our European homes. This complex scientific name has "guttata" inside, which from the Latin speaks of a drop, thus reminding us of the black stripe under the eyes, "teardrop" that appears on the face of diamond birds. The other type, smaller and less common, is the Taeniopygia guttata guttata, originally from the Indonesian island of Timor and recognizable by the absence of black streaks on the chest. The mandarin diamond is a very endearing exotic bird.
The diamond birds they are small feathers: 8-12 cm long and 12 grams light, even if the domestic specimens reach up to 40 grams. In general, the body of these little animals is robust and with soft lines, the tail has square edges, the beak is squat but big. There is not much difference in tonnage between males and females, while in color, a great deal: both have gray mouse back which fades towards white on the belly and under the tail, while on the wings the gray tends to fade into brownish.
In common, males and females also have a black tail with white bands, a black tear under the eyes and two dirty white mustaches next to the beak. Now here are the differences: the male of the diamond birds he has an orange patch on his cheeks and zebra-striped chest and throat, a black stripe on his chin and a red dotted white on his hips.
The legs are orange for both sexes while the beak returns to differentiate itself: orange-pink in the female, coral red for the male. Among diamond birds in captivity numerous variations of color have been recognized, about 50 officers, the best known and common are "white", "piebald", "black cheek", "black breast", but there is something for all tastes.
Diamond birds: singing
Having gregarious habits diamond birds they use singing a lot to call and recognize each other within their group. Usually they are small mixed flocks, and at least a dozen components. They are not great travelers but if they lack food or water, they also move a lot, always keeping themselves anointed through song and chirping.
Among diamond birds, those who sing more and better have always been the males who take up the song of their father by embroidering on it and re-interpreting it. The females are not very inclined and do not try too much, it is a hormonal matter, even if they tried, the females of the diamond birds they could not compete with their comrades.
Diamond birds: what they eat
The diamond birds they are mainly granivorous birds, their diet is based on the mature millet but thanks to the large beak they are equipped with, they can also feed on other much harder seeds, as long as they are small. In the "plate" of diamond birds Fruits, vegetables and berries are also welcome while foods such as small insects and larvae are rare to see. They usually appear during the reproductive period and during moulting, the periods in which the animal needs the most nutrients to "hold up". In flight and in health.
The diamond birds in cages they have a false diet but that follows the natural one, thanks to mixtures of various seeds for exotic species, often and willingly, for us and for them, supplemented with pieces of fruit and vegetables. Sometimes a little egg, which is nutritious. The diamond birds they are rather greedy and voracious, as a species, so much so that when they serve themselves they do so almost compulsively, literally sowing the various grains around. Very useful thing in nature, very annoying thing for the owners of diamond birds that, from the cage, dirty everything around.
Diamond birds: reproduction
There is no precise season for breeding, the diamond birds they follow the trend of the rains and almost automatically become able to reproduce, once in the right age, whenever there are suitable weather conditions.
Everything starts, not only for the diamond birds but also for them, from the courtship phase: a series of vocalizations of the male, very elaborate and refined, I would say pleasant, accompanied by a sort of dance, always by the male, while the female of the diamond birds he looks at and is surrounded by these choreographic ritual movements.
When a pair of diamond birds, there is no mention of separation for the rest of their lives although i am not uncommon cases of infidelity, both on one side and on the other. Together they sleep in the notre and together they make the nest, the males take care of the structure and architecture, the internal protection and padding is instead done by the females. The diamond birds nest it is about 15 cm in diameter, a refined interweaving of mixed layers of grass stems and small roots, with inserts of fluff, feathers, leaves.
Diamond birds: hatching
Once the nest has been placed in a secluded and elevated place, for example the hollow of a tree or the top of a bush, the female of the diamond birds lays eggs: from 2 to 8 - on average 5 - of about 15 mm in length. The classic rhythm is one a day, from the second onwards the hatching also begins and lasts two weeks, more or less. During this time the male of the diamond birds, does not disappear but remains to watch from above, often perched on the nest, both to alert his family in case of dangers, and to defend his partner if "lovers" arrive.
The little gods diamond birds, the pullets are born completely featherless, one day at a time, in a row for hatching time, and to be recognized by the mother and fed by the parents, they have a particular design and papillae in relief on the palate. Both the male and the female take care of feeding and feed frequently the young that show the first feathers after a few weeks.
Time to get out of the nest for the diamond birds it is after three weeks, then it only takes a few days to literally take flight. After a month of life also the coloring of the plumage of the diamond birds it develops and males and females begin to be clearly distinguishable.
Diamond birds: price
A specimen of the diamond birds to keep at home, to be cared for and loved, for an average life of about 7 years, it costs about 12 euros. In nature these animals live much less but if we know how to feed them with good seeds and love, in cages they reach formidable ages for such fragile little beings.
At home I am a sociable and harmonious presence, very lively and present, with singing but not only. The diamond birds they are not difficult to breed and do not require particular care to become too demanding. Also as regards the climate, they are adaptable animals, but let's not exaggerate: when we position the cage we avoid currents and areas that are too hot or too cold, as well as sudden changes in temperature.
While we're at it, to better accommodate the diamond birds we choose a spacious cage and a quiet and bright place, furnishing the space with a manger and drinking bottle, a water tank to be replaced frequently, and a pre-built nest as well as various supports on which they can pass the time.
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