Prague Zoo opens new aviary for rare songbirds

The new aviary, opened to the public on Saturday, is inhabited by eight species of birds from the Sichuan region of China. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.07.2023 15:07:00 (updated on 22.07.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

Prague Zoo inaugurated its latest addition on Saturday, a new aviary located at the Sichuan pavilion which was completed at a cost of 12 million crowns. The aviary houses eight species of birds native to China's Sichuan region, including the great argus and the scaly-sided merganser.

According to Prague Zoo Director Miroslav Bobek, construction of the aviary, specifically designed for songbirds from the Himalayan foothills, commenced after the winter season, requiring approximately six months to complete.

"The aviary as well as reconstruction inside the pavilion itself together cost CZK 12 million," Bobek told journalists at the ceremonial unveiling on Saturday. The Zoo's director added that the aviary was designed to harmoniously complement the circular shape of the pavilion.

Visitors to Prague Zoo can now observe rufous-cheeked laughingthrush and their offspring outdoors, a remarkable feat achieved through the zoo's conservation efforts.

"We were the first in the world to breed the rufous-cheeked laughingthrush, and we are still the only ones," Bobek proudly noted. He added that the new aviary provides a simulated natural environment for endangered scaly-sided merganser, including an artificial waterfall.

The aviary's innovative oval construction ensures unobstructed views of the birds, allowing children to observe the scaly-sided mergansers at eye level.

Prague Zoo Bird Curator Antonín Vaidl spoke about the black-breasted thrush, an endangered species now housed at the new aviary. These birds are sought after for their singing abilities, and used in Asian bird singing competitions.

In addition to the new aviary, Prague Zoo is undertaking various construction projects, including a dedicated Arctic exhibit for polar bears. "In an ideal world, we could start construction [on the Arctic exhibit] this year," Bobek added. 

Prague Zoo is also continuing to further develop its camel plains, which will allow for rhinoceroses to return to the zoo. A new area for Indian crested porcupines, whose previous home made way for the new Sichuan aviary, is also in the works.

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