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Joining together individuals who share a common interest in breeding Carduelan species in captivity

Updated Monday, 09 June 2008

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By John Quatro
The thought of visiting Peru has been on my mind for many years so I decided this year to visit Buenos Aires, Lima, Cuzco and Machupicchu. Since there are no direct flights to Lima from Sydney, I had a choice of either flying to Santiago (Chile) or to Buenos Aires for the connecting flight to Lima.  I spent five days in Santiago last year, so this year I decided to fly toBuenos Aires and meet with a local Carduelan Breeder, Mr. Roberto Amieva. Buenos Aires, being one of the biggest and most beautiful cities in South America surely has lot to offer to the thousands of tourists from all over the world whose presence was always felt. Art galleries, Museums, beautiful Gardens, Beaches, Markets etc. are the focus points in Buenos Aires. Suggestions by friends in Sydney and by Roberto to visit one of the many Tango shows in Buenos Aires were on my mind from the moment I arrived. For those of you who like Music and Night life, Tango shows are not only very exiting to watch, it opens up the feel for appreciation for what the word Tango stands for; elegance, gracefulness and art.

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Some of those hat feathers surely belong to Red Siskin?  (I had nothing to do with that "honest"!).

Do go to see it if you happen to be in Buenos Aires. Amongst the people who saw the same show (at one time or an other) that I have seen were: President Clinton, president Gorbachev, Pele, Prince Albert of Monaco etc. Back to the subject of birds! I was surprised to see species which are sold in most parts of the world for a four figure sum, are only worth US$5 per pair at the local bird Markets. One of the species was the Yellow billed Cardinals. According to Roberto Amieva Yellow billed Cardinals as well as the Red Crested Cardinals are too aggressive and are not too popular with the local Carduelan breeders. These birds are also native to Brazil. Brazilian Pope Cardinal is similar to the Yellow billed Cardinal but it can easily be distinguished by its Red bib where as in the Yellow billed Cardinal the bib is black. According to some breeders the Brazilian specie of the Red Crested Cardinals are larger than the Argentinean but I haven't been able to confirm this, if anyone can help with this please send me an E-mail.  In Argentina, Spanish Goldfinches, Hooded  Siskins, Black-chinned Siskins and various Parrot Finches were the highest priced, finches. Green Cardinals are occasionally available but unfortunately they were not when I was there.
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Argentinian Magellanicus
According to Roberto only two breeders were known who kept the Red Siskins in Argentina. I certainly had a great time in Buenos Aires. The food was excellent and I really enjoyed the array of tropical fruit that were available at any corner stores. The only surprise was that the Banks at the time did not exchange the Travellers cheques and if your Hotel does not provide this service it is difficult to get cash out on the weekends, and even during the week the Money exchange offices are not easy to find. Visa Cards are accepted in most Restaurant or Stores, US dollars are equal to Argentinean Peso and are also accepted anywhere. 

The 5-4 flight to Lima from Buenos Aires with the Peruvian Airlines was very relaxing while looking at the tips of the Andean Alps. I arrived in Lima at about 11pm where I was met by a tour guide and transferred to a Hotel in Miraflores. I was up early the next morning, anxious to check out the city and meet with the local
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Juan, myself and Ruben
Check out Juan's Photo Album
Carduelan breeders: Andres Sanchez, Juan Torres and Ruben Sanchez. I had an early breakfast with a couple of cups of "Mate de Coca" - Coca leafs tea (which ais not narcotics in that form)!
 I also had an interesting talk to the people at the Reception about their city of Lima. Andres, Juan and Ruben arrived about 9am. After a short introduction and a drink at the bar, we were finally ready to go to visit three of the local well known breeders- and this took most of the day. I knew that between Juan, Andres and Ruben they had anything from small Clorophonias to the Blue Headed Macaws, but I was amazed with what the other breeders kept. Birds from the smallest Humming Birds to the large Macaws, Eagles, Toucans, Toucanets, Touracos, all kinds of Doves, Parrots etc. I was impressed with the array of Tanagers that were kept and bred. The Red Peruvian Cock of the Rock were also interesting to see how they were bred in captivity. I have seen some of these birds in Europe and the USA but haven't heard of anyone who bred them. Reptiles, Monkeys and some wild cats were also popular as pets by the locals.
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Yellow mutation Python
In Peru permits are required to be able to keep and breed most of the wild birds and animals. Only Aviary bred stock can be sold. As for the Siskins, only two species of Siskins were kept in Lima and they were Black Siskins and the Hooded Siskins - Urumbabmbensis, and another subspecie by the name of S.m.capitalis with its shiny Yellow margin forming a collar on the sides of its neck.
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Peruvian Spinus m.capitalis
The birds that I was hoping to see were Spinus uropygialis and Spinus crassirostris but according to Ruben they are only available for two months of the year. The next Day Andres had to leave Lima to go back to work to nearby town.  I spent another couple of days with Ruben and Juan before I caught a airplane to Cuzco.

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At Machupicchu

The flight took only one hour. Cuzco is an old Inca city, which is 3000 m above the sea level, altitude is something to worry about and it affects people in different ways. It took me a full day and a half to readjust. Cuzco is a haven for the Souvenir hunters; also the local markets sell all kinds of Alpaca woolen garments at the bargain prices. This city is always packed with Tourists from all over the World. There are numerous excellent Restaurants and Night Clubs which appear to be always crowded. Again, the Siskins that I have been looking for were no where to be seen. According to a local Finch enthusiast Alfonso Pumacayo, Siskins are not popular with the Locals. Parrots and Tanagers are much more preferred birds.

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For those of you who are interested in Bird Seeds, Peru has some of the most nutritious seeds in the world, seeds like Kiwicha (Amaranthus caudatus ), Ca˝ihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule), Quinua (Chenopodium quinoa), . Some of these seeds are more nutritious then the meat and vegetable together, for more information please go to this site:


  From Cuzco I caught a train to Urubamba (the sacred valley of the Incas) and then to the lost city of the Incas, Machupicchu. I spent three days combing the mountains with Tourists from all over the world, I even climbed on to the top of the nearby mountain, another few hundred metres above Machpicchu which was very steep (70 to 80 Deg.). On the way up I spoke to some Tourists who were coming down who were impressed with the view from the top. They also said that there were lots of butterflies on the top of the mountain, which is understandable as by the time one reaches the top of the Huayanapicchu, some butterflies are released.

 If you ever visit Machupicchu do attempt to climb to the top of Huaynapicchu, the view is just spectacular. After all, it is not that bad. There's a track with steps and hand rails leading to the top of the mountain. All you need to bring with you is your camera and a small bottle of water if you wish. Allow 45 min for each way. I was staying at the Hotel in a small town of Agua Calliente at the foot of the mountain. Natural Hot springs in Agua Calliente will provide relaxation and get you in to the shape for another assault to another part of the mountain like: "Camino del Inca" or just a walk to the secret Inca Bridge which was discovered only recently. As for bird life on the mountain, I have seen lots of different species of Hummingbirds some Seedeaters, Rufus Collard Sparrows were common, Tanagers etc. I was even photographed with a friendly Alpaca. The experience travelling through this part of the world is unique and I am glad that I have chosen Peru this year.



Carduelan Birdbreeders Club in Holland

Our club has been in existance for approximately 25 years, with a current membership of 57 people. Five to six times per year we hold a meeting on a Sunday morning. Each time we meet we attempt to follow a certain schedule, but there are always some items on our agenda which we come back to every year. These items include the following:
January/February - order medicines from a well-know vet (no antibiotics) such as : - coccidiostaticum- a mix for E.coli and other bacteria
- a powder against atoxoplasma
March/April - It is expected that our members will announce what kind of birds they intend to breed, as well as the number of pairs/females.
May/June - discussions about the breeding season
August/September - We compare the breeding results with other club members and other seasons.
October/November - Preparing and selection for the exhibition season
Decemeber - several exhibitions
Other items we also discuss include:
the main food
nests, nesting material and nest places
leg bands
selection of breeding pairs
breeding cages
In the coming years, our aim is to increase the level of knowledge amongst our members.


*number of members: 43
*number of breeding pairs: 455
* number of youngsters: 820
* number of species: 18 (mainly European birds)
* average number of pairs per member: 10.5
* average number of youngsters: 1,8

Seeing as though there are still some breeders who don't have good results,
the average number of youngs birds is too low.

With 57 members for the year 2000, we expect that we will collect more than 600 breeding pairs of European birds (some breeders are very enthusiastic and raised their number of pairs). We are anticipating 1 200 young European birds this coming breeding season!


Our members live in a 30 kilometre radius of Breda in southern Netherlands (Breda is close to the Belgium border). Some years ago, the Dutcg law of bird protection was changed so that we are now able to keep and breed every European bird. It was quite easy for us to buy avairy-bred birds in Belguim, which meant we had a good start... and the same results are expected for the coming years! Our ‘club’ is associated with the ‘Speciaalclub Europese Cultuurvogels’ (SEC - club of specialised breeders of cultivated/domesticated European birds).

For more information, see:

Our address: Huub Vervest -


the Netherlands

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Carduelan breeder in Europe is urgently looking for other breeders who are keeping or breeding these rare South American birds - Yellow-Green Grosbeaks (Caryothraustres canadensis). If anyone breeds these birds in Europe please contact me or Claudia. Also we are not sure about the subspecies, are they one of
the two North-eastern South American or the subspecie from Panama, if anyone can tell please let us know.

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