An excellent talker, the WATTLED MYNA (lower left) can learn to enunciate as clearly as the best of the parrots. One of these birds on exhibit at a meeting in Washington D.C., astonished a former director of the Budget Bureau by greeting him with the words: “How about the appropriation?” The lively, engaging RED-CRESTED CARDINAL (top bird) comes from southern South America. A splendid singer, the sprightly SHAMA THRUSH (white-edged tail) is also something of a mimic. The lowest perched bird is the active. noisy WHITE-EARED BULBUL. “Japanese robin” is one of several misnomers for the warbling RED-BILLED HILL TIT (on ground), a native of China.
By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine
This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004
All through Argentina I found the red-crested cardinal (Paroaria cristata) a common cage bird, prized even in its native land. In the north, where it is often called “Brazilian cardinal,” it is equally attractive. Its colors are striking, its form jaunty, and its actions sprightly, so that its rather ordinary song is overlooked (Color Plate VIII).
The birds are seed eaters that are regularly kept in single cages of sufficient size to allow freedom of movement. In aviaries care should be used not to put them with weaker species, as they are often aggressive and kill or injure smaller companions.
These birds are hardy and will stand considerable cold. I have known a bird escaped from captivity to live at freedom through the rigors of a severe winter in Washington, D. C.