Jardine Parrot Subspecies
(a few words on the subject from Gail Worth)


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It has come to my attention that there is some confusion as to the subspecies of Jardine Parrots that we raise at Aves International. Following is an explanation of how we began breeding this wonderful specie and our explanation of common names vs. scientific names.

I first became enchanted with Jardine Parrots twenty-two years ago when I became acquainted with a neighbor who owned a pet wild-caught Lesser Jardine (Poicephalus gulielmi fantiensis). I soon purchased a pair of them to attempt breeding and begged the local Los Angeles importers to bring in more of these birds. Jardines were relatively rare in U.S. aviculture in those days and there wasn't much interest in them so the importers were reluctant to put much energy into getting them. Shipments from Africa came from West Africa in those days and Senegal Parrots, Jardines, and the smaller "West African or Ghana" African Greys were imported together. A year or so after seeing my first Jardine, the importers began bringing in the larger "Congo" African Greys from more southern areas of Africa- the Congo region. Eventually a few Jardines arrived in these shipments. These birds were clearly different from the other Jardines- larger, different shades of green, with a smaller area of darker orange coloring on the forehead. Some had more black coloring in the wings. We looked in Parrots of the World, by Forshaw and Cooper, and saw that these were larger subspecies that came from more southern areas of Africa. We called them "Congo Jardines". Sometimes only three or four birds would arrive in a shipment and, more often than not, they would be all males. I would patiently wait the months until the next shipment arrived and purchase the next few birds, again predominately males. Then finally I was fortunate to obtain females of these larger Jardines and immediately paired them with the lonely males. Nobody was sure exactly where in Africa these birds were caught and they were quite variable in appearance- different shades of green and orange, amount of black in the wings, and differences in size. I was not overly concerned about this and paired the birds as best I could. Remember, in those days there was very little prior avicultural interest in this species and very little published information about them. I was quite successful in breeding these and decided to work only with the "Congo Jardine" and sold my pair of Lesser Jardines. One time, several years later, I had three domestic females to pair and wanted new bloodlines. I purchased three wild-caught males form a quarantine station in Chicago. These three birds were even larger and darker than others I had seen previously. Their wings had more black coloration and the orange patch on the forehead was very dark orange. Their upper mandibles were quite pale. Upon inquiry, I was told that these were "Tanzanian"or "Black-Winged" Jardines. I looked in Forshaw's book and decided they were the subspecies "massaicus". They went into the breeding program paired with my females. These lovely birds have bred to the third and fourth generation in our collection and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to help establish them in American aviculture.


Now, all these years later, I have become aware that there have been new common names assigned that refer to the various subspecies. "Greater" Jardine now refers only to massaicus, "Black-Winged" refers to the nominate P. g. gulielmi, and "Lesser" refers to fantiensis. A fourth subspecies, permistus, is doubtful and it is not known if this subspecies is in American aviculture. It is described in Forshaw's book as "intermediate between gulielmi and massaicus". So now the problem for me became what common name to give my Jardines. Some people were confused by the term "Congo Jardine" which I had used for twenty years. To alleviate the confusion between the birds I raise and the smaller "Lesser" Jardine, I just recently began referring to my birds as "Greater" Jardines, thinking that what was not "Lesser" was "Greater". I have recently been accused of knowingly misrepresenting my birds and cheating people that have bought my birds because my birds are not TRUE "Greater" Jardines.

Therefore, from this point on I will refer to my birds as "Jardine Parrots" but they are all from the "larger" subspecies of Jardine Parrots. I do not have "Lesser" Jardine bloodlines. Although they vary as individuals (even within a clutch), the general relative size of my Jardines in comparison to the smaller Senegal, Red-Bellied, and Meyer's Parrots can be seen in this photo. This bird in the photo is typical of my baby Jardines.

 

Below are photos of some of our breeding stock and some of their babies.

 
This is a domestic-bred male.

 
This is a domestic-bred female.

 
This is one of our domestic-bred breeders.

 
The hen in this breeding pair has unusual coloration.

 This is one of the original wild-caught male "Tanzanian" Jardines.
 

 
These chicks are five weeks of age in these photos.
 

 
This chick was about six weeks
old in these photos.
 

 
This bird was ten weeks old
in this photo.

 
At twelve weeks of age,
this baby is fully weaned.
Jardine Parrots have a reputation of being susceptible to Aspergillosis but I have not found that to be at all true of the Jardine Parrots we own. I have owned many of my breeders for twenty years plus. I believe their good health is a direct result of the fresh food diet we feed. Jardine Parrots should be fed a diet high in vegetables, grains, and fruits
(click here for diet recommendations)
.Please read this page: phytonutrients

 These are the babies shown in the previous photos. They are from different parent pairs.
 

 Here are the same two Jardines shown with one of our baby "Orange-Bellied" Senegals (please don't ask me about Senegal subspecies). ;^)
 

 These are the same Jardine babies shown with one of our baby Timneh African Greys.
 


I certainly hope this will help to clarify what "type" of Jardines we raise. My staff and I have worked hard to establish this specie in our collection so that these birds would be available in the future for pets and, yes, for breeding stock. I personally do not feel that keeping all of the subspecies pure in American aviculture was as important as establishing them in captivity. I suspect that there are very few "pure bloodlines" of Jardines. From the information I have, producing pure massaicus pairs are few and far between in U.S. aviculture. I am proud of our Jardine Parrots and have never intended to misrepresent them in any way. In a perfect world, we would have lots of pure bloodlines of all species breeding in captivity. Aviculture was quite different twenty plus years ago and
I can only hope that the efforts of earlier aviculturists to establish captive self-sustaining populations of parrots will not be misunderstood nor maligned by those of the present and future.

 Jardine Parrots

 Poicephalus Parrots

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