Keepers at Newquay Zoo are deservedly proud as they celebrate the best breeding success nationwide for the critically endangered Blue Crowned Laughing Thrush (Garrulax courtois).

They have worked hard to create the optimum breeding environment within their Tropical House over the last 12 months, and this has resulted in a single pair of birds producing nine healthy chicks over three clutches.

The Blue Crowned Laughing Thrush is listed as ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red list, with just 250 birds in the wild (2011), and 166 in captivity. International recognition of their status has resulted in the recent creation of stud books for captive breeding programs throughout Europe and the US. They are native to a very small breeding range within the Jiangxi province of China, and are threatened by habitat loss, disturbance of nest sites and the caged bird trade.

Senior Bird Keeper, Gary Ward said, ‘All the staff are very proud of the success of this breeding programme, which demonstrates the importance of hard work and a caring approach. The key to successful breeding is to create a suitable environment and choose co-habiting species with care, therefore maximising breeding potential – and working with such a critically endangered species is especially rewarding’.

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