Evidence for Aviculture: Identifying Research Needs to Advance the Role of Ex Situ Bird Populations in Conservation Initiatives and Collection Planning
2. Collaborative Approaches and Conservation Action
Linking the Captive Population to the Wild: An Example
3. Sustainability Goals: Data from the Field for Success in Captivity
Adding Value to the Zoo Bird—A Proxy for Species in the Wild
4. Behavior and Welfare, Conserving Adaptive Traits
5. What Do We Investigate and What Should We Investigate?
Moving Forwards with Research
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Question||Theme||Focal Species||Potential Output|
|Impacts of mixed species housing||How do species impact upon each other’s behavior and welfare when housed in multi-taxa enclosures? |
Are species mixes based on ecological realties?
|Red Listed species housed in multi-taxa enclosures that require intensive breeding program management (e.g., laughing-thrushes, Leiothrichidae). Species not of conservation concern but who require intervention to ensure population sustainability in captivity (e.g., flamingos).||Evidence for best practice approaches (i.e., what to mix and how).|
Evidence for enclosure design to promote positive interactions and breeding situations.
Ecological relevance of the enclosure is promoted to the zoo’s visitors.
|Visitor influences on behavior||How does the “visitor effect” impact on birds in managed zoo-housed populations?|
Does a visitor effect influence the success or failure of breeding events?
How does visitor presence affect welfare and behavioral diversity?
|Species that are known to engage with visitors (e.g., parrots). Species known to be wary of visitors (e.g., penguins). Species commonly displayed prominently in “busy” areas of the zoo, e.g., flamingos housed near the entrance or gift shop. |
Noise sensitive species and nocturnal species (e.g., owls, Strigiformes, and Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides).
Species that might present with abnormal repetitive behaviors (e.g., feather plucking) when a stressor is beyond the individual’s control (e.g., parrots).
|For birds in multi-species and walk-through enclosures, qualifying the impact of visitors into the bird’s environment as well as pressures from other species presence too.|
Evidence that housing provides for the bird’s behavioral and welfare needs at busy periods of visitation (i.e., by allowing the individuals to distance themselves when needed).
|Promoting adaptive traits in captive populations||How can behavioral diversity and behavioral plasticity be encouraged in zoo aviaries and bird enclosures? |
What features of a species natural habitat needs to be replicated to ensure that it can perform as many relevant behaviors as possible and/or retain the ability to do so?
|Species with a high chance of reintroduction (e.g., European White Stork, Ciconia ciconia or Northern Bald Ibis, Geronticus eremita).|
Species managed as an ark population due to extirpation in the wild (e.g., Guam Kingfisher).
Species that are used as a husbandry model for other species, or for foster rearing.
|Evidence for species-specific environmental enrichment that is most appropriate for promoting key behavior patterns within zoo housing.|
Improved capacity within individuals to meet environmental challenge. Resilience and adaptability of behavior patterns.
|Increasing capacity within bird keeping staff||Increasing collaboration between stakeholders and improved dialogue to share experiences.|
Tapping knowledge that can be relevant to conservation action in the zoo or in the field.
Empowering zoo professionals with the right information for best practice care of their birds.
|All birds housed under human care would benefit from increased knowledge of their needs and an enhanced understanding of their ecology and natural history, which could be reflected in best practice management.||Added input into review, re-writing and publishing of husbandry manuals for zoo housed birds.|
Increased participation of zoo professionals in conservation action.
Multiple channels of communication formed between relevant stakeholders that are adaptable and flexible to the situation required.
|Enhancing the profile of birds to zoo visitors||Encouraging visitors to observe birds and engage with bird populations at their local zoo.|
Enthusing visitors with new information on the birds they see to promote a deeper awareness of their conservation story, linking them to wider biodiversity conservation aims.
|Considering the impact of the collection plan on increasing positive engagement, featured around birds, on the zoo’s visitors.|
“Storybook species”, those that explain the role of species diversity in an ecosystem and how humans can disrupt this (e.g., Southern Ground Hornbill).
“Flagship species”, those that promote key conservation outcomes and can direct fundraising or advocacy (e.g., Grey Crowned Crane, Balearica regulorum).
“Honeypot species”, those with a visual impact or appeal or unusual appearance that draw visitors to an enclosure and can promote a key message (e.g., Southern Cassowary, Casuarius casuarius).
|Increased value of the bird collection through increased engagement with visitors.|
Increased membership and revenue for the zoo due to increased connections to the animal collection.
Educational goals can be expanded by linking the species seen in the zoo with the zoo’s wider with the wider community (at a local and national level).
|Collecting more evidence from the wild for husbandry practices||Using technology to increase data collection in the wild to use as a benchmark for husbandry relevance.|
Improving links with field biologists to share resources and data gathered that can be applied in the zoo.
|All species will benefit from an evidence-based approach as well as evaluation and review of husbandry and management regimes to ensure they are supported by information on natural history, evolutionary ecology and behavioral ecology.||Improved reproductive success. Improved lifespan and longevity.|
Improved health and wellbeing.
Improved behavior patterns that Increased interest for visitors and enhance the science, education and conservation aims of the zoo.
|Integrating One Plan Approaches into collection planning||How can zoo bird populations have a tangible role in in situ conservation projects? Can collection planning be adapted around the conservation needs of specific taxonomic groups?||Species with weaker links between the wild and the zoo; focus can provide added value to their role in the zoo and more engagement with field-based projects. For example, species with visitor impact e.g., Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) or species with a ubiquitous captive presence e.g., Chilean Flamingo.||Improved links between field biologists and zoo professionals.|
Extra value added to the role of zoo housed species, and this can be integrated into educational outputs, directed research projects as well breeding programs and population management goals.
|Dietary ingredients, color and behavior||How does the quality of diet and the individual’s plane of nutrition influence feather quality and plumage color and therefore the messaging from these signals that direct other behaviors (e.g., mate choice)?||Species that have poor reproductive success in captivity and those that have brightly colored feathers, who have a need for a specific dietary pigment (e.g., carotenoids).||Increased population viability and sustainability for species with specific dietary requirements and any links plumage color. Better understanding of how to vary diet quality and ingredients provided based on physiological (e.g., molt) or behavioral (e.g., courtship display) condition.|
|Environmental variables, lighting, plumage color||Investigation into the UV reflectivity of bird plumage. Do species from high UV environments require exposure to “supplementary” UV-A and UV-B spectrums? Are there increases in breeding behavior or similar beneficial activity patterns when supplementary lighting is provided?||Species within behavioral issues in captivity, e.g., parrots, that may respond to changed environmental parameters. |
Species from high UV exposure environments (e.g., desert dwelling finches and parakeets). Species where UV reflection enables communication and sexual selection (e.g., mynah birds, Sturnidae).
|Species that have behavioral problems, e.g., feather plucking, may reduce performance of such behaviors and experience improved welfare.|
|Evolutionary origins and collection planning||Represent the evolutionary distinctness of specific birds that might be the sole species in their taxonomic classification within collection plans. |
Consider the conservation of evolutionary potential and evolutionary distinction alongside of how threatened (population wise) a species is.
|Species that are monotypic (i.e., the only ones in their genus, family or order), for example the Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex), Secretary-bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) or Magpie-Goose (Anseranas semipalmata).||Enhanced knowledge of husbandry requirements in captivity that promote nesting/breeding behaviors and hence contribute to improved population sustainability. |
Conservation of the species’ genetic integrity and adaptive potential as well as its evolutionary uniqueness.
Working together with field-based conservation action to promote, to the zoo’s visitors, why these species are unique.
|Zoonotic disease spread and surveillance|
Emerging infectious diseases and population sustainability
|Identification of clinical and pre-clinical signs of disease to help advance diagnosis in bird species. |
Effects of novel pathogens on population dynamics and population survival.
Effective interventions to reduce disease spread and enhance immunity.
|Species of a limited population size and those of conservation concern, potentially pathogen naïve due to isolated or endemic status (e.g., island populations), e.g., Pink Pigeon, Streptopelia mayeri or Socorro Dove, Zenaida graysoni.|
Species likely to be susceptible to zoonotic diseases easily spread between across large areas rapidly, e.g., avian influenza and waterfowl collections.
|Improved biosecurity techniques applied to species husbandry and housing.|
Enhanced understanding of disease spread through populations and susceptibility of individual life stages/populations to pathogens.
|Management practices that may impact on adaptive or behavioral traits in the future.||Issues with conserving behavior (e.g., flight patterns) or cultural differences between populations (e.g., tool use or vocalizations) within captive populations due to common husbandry practices for such species.||Species subject to flight restraint: Are there long-term effects on fitness and on behavioral diversity that may be passed on to future generations. I.e., do individuals that cope better without flight breed more readily in captivity? |
Do species with complex problem-solving behaviors, housed in uniform environments, lose population-unique traits?
|Change to husbandry and housing to promote and enhance a fuller behavioral repertoire.|
Identification of environmental features needed to promote key adaptive traits.
Further understanding of population specific behavioral traits that may be needed by individuals and how to promote their performance.
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Rose, P. Evidence for Aviculture: Identifying Research Needs to Advance the Role of Ex Situ Bird Populations in Conservation Initiatives and Collection Planning. Birds 2021, 2, 77-95. https://doi.org/10.3390/birds2010005
Rose P. Evidence for Aviculture: Identifying Research Needs to Advance the Role of Ex Situ Bird Populations in Conservation Initiatives and Collection Planning. Birds. 2021; 2(1):77-95. https://doi.org/10.3390/birds2010005Chicago/Turabian Style
Rose, Paul. 2021. "Evidence for Aviculture: Identifying Research Needs to Advance the Role of Ex Situ Bird Populations in Conservation Initiatives and Collection Planning" Birds 2, no. 1: 77-95. https://doi.org/10.3390/birds2010005