Our Birds

African Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus

FUN FACT

African Grey Parrots are highly intelligent and are considered by many to be perhaps the most intelligent parrot species. American scientist Irene Pepperberg’s work with “Alex” the African Grey Parrot showed his ability to learn more than 100 words and to differentiate objects, colors, materials, and shapes!

African Grey Parrots, a medium-sized parrot native to the forests of central Africa, are some of the best mimics in the bird world. In the wild, this species often copies the sounds of other animals in the forest. Around people, they may learn to copy a variety of sounds including laughter, a phone ringing, whistling, human speech, and many other sounds. Two African Grey Parrots roosting in Zaire were reported by researchers to have a repertoire of over 200 different sounds, including nine imitations of other wild bird songs and even one of a bat! This species is widely believed the be one of the most intelligent bird species. African Greys can live to be 60 years old. While their charismatic personalities and mimicry make them popular, they can be very challenging to keep as pets. This species is vulnerable to the illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss and destruction.

African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus
Afrotropical

Habitat

Lowland primary and secondary forest, forest edges, forest fragments, and forest clearings, gallery forest, savanna woodland, farms, plantations, and mangroves

Diet

Fruits, seeds, nuts, and leaves

Status

Endangered

Breeding

African Grey Parrots are monogamous and not much is known of their courtship displays in the wild. They make their nests in hollow tree cavities and generally lay between 1 and 4 white eggs. The eggs take approximately 28 days to hatch and the young birds remain with their parents for 4 months or more.

African Penguin Spheniscus demersus

FUN FACT

The pink markings around an African Penguins’ eyes are glands that help them to regulate their body temperature and stay cool.

African Penguins are native to the southwestern coast of Africa, and are one of the 18 species of penguins found throughout the Southern Hemisphere. They are also among the smallest penguins, standing about 18 inches tall and weighing 6 to 10 pounds. They are a temperate species comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, making them well-suited for life in Penguin Point at the National Aviary. African Penguins can’t fly, but they are extremely agile swimmers. They use their wings like paddles and their webbed feet like flippers to propel themselves through the water at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour! Sadly, this species faces many challenges, like overfishing and human encroachment on nesting grounds, and could be extinct in the wild in as little as 10 years.

African Penguin

Spheniscus demersus
Afrotropical
Penguin Encounter

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Private Penguin Feeding

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Habitat

Warm coastal beaches

Diet

Fish and squid

Status

Endangered

Breeding

African Penguins nest in caves, laying two eggs per season. Eggs incubate for 38 days and both parents share incubation duties.

African Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus

African Pygmy Falcon

Polihierax semitorquatus
Afrotropical

Status

Least concern

African Pygmy-Goose Nettapus auritus

FUN FACT

The African Pygmy-goose is the smallest species of waterfowl in the world. It weighs only a little more than a half a pound!

Weighing just over half a pound, the African Pygmy-goose is the smallest species of waterfowl in the world! This goose inhabits swamps, marshes, shallow freshwater lakes, and slow-flowing rivers in Africa which have abundant aquatic vegetation. Here it feeds primarily on seeds, leaves, and flowers of various aquatic plants, and nests in a variety of situations. The African pygmy-goose is not globally threatened, but populations are adversely affected by introduced fish, like tilapia, and by the invasive aquatic water hyacinth, which tends to take over waterways.

African Pygmy-Goose

Nettapus auritus
Afrotropical

Habitat

Swamps, marshes, shallow freshwater lakes and slow-flowing rivers with abundant aquatic vegetation, especially water lilies

Diet

Seeds, leaves, and flowers of various aquatic plants; also aquatic invertebrates and, rarely, small fish

Status

Least concern

Breeding

The African Pygmy-goose nests in tree holes (e.g., old woodpecker and barbet holes) in or near standing water and sometimes in old Hamerkop nests, thatched rooves, crowns of palm tree and in holes in cliffs. Females incubate 6-12 eggs for 3-4 weeks.

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos
Nearctic

Status

Least concern

American Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber

FUN FACT

Have you ever seen a flamingo stand on one leg? It may look like their leg is bending backwards, but they are actually bending their ankle! A flamingo’s knee is higher up on the leg, close to the body.

American Flamingos have brilliant feathers that range from pale pink to a deep scarlet red, and get their coloring from the microscopic shrimp and algae in their diet. The depth of their pigmentation indicates how well a flamingo was eating as its feathers grew. Their long necks and legs allow them to wade and forage in water several feet deep. They use their curved bill to strain plankton and other small invertebrates from the water.

American Flamingo

Phoenicopterus ruber
Neotropical
Flamingo Trek Book Ahead Today
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A symbolic flamingo adoption makes a great gift, and helps us care for our flock!

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Habitat

Shallow, salty lagoons and lakes

Diet

Small invertebrates and algae

Status

Least concern

Breeding

This species builds conical mud nests and lay a single egg, which they incubate for 30 days.

American Kestrel Falco sparverius

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius
Nearctic Neotropical

Status

Least concern

Andean Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola peruvianus

Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Rupicola peruvianus
Neotropical

Status

Least concern

Andean Condor Vultur gryphus

Andean Condor

Vultur gryphus
Neotropical

Status

Near threatened

Augur Buzzard Buteo augur

Augur Buzzard

Buteo augur
Afrotropical

Status

Least concern

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus

FUN FACT

Bald Eagles are some of the largest birds in North America. Bald Eagles from the northern portions of their range are larger than individuals in the southern limits of their range. Like most raptors, females may be up to 30% larger than males.  Overall, the species ranges in size from a 5.5 foot wingspan up to a nearly 8 foot wingspan depending on the sex and origin of the bird.

The Bald Eagle is one of the most readily recognizable birds in North America. They are also one of the largest, with the biggest females reaching 13 pounds or more. And, since 1782, the Bald Eagle has been the national bird of the United States. Bald Eagles are also one of the most well known conservation success stories in the world.  In the mid-20th century, Bald Eagle populations suffered a steep decline as a result of persecution, habitat loss, and the introduction of a pesticide called DDT. Large predators, like Bald Eagles, ended up with high concentrations of DDT in their bodies, affecting the birds’ ability to lay eggs with properly formed shells.  By 1978, it only an estimated 400 Bald Eagle pairs remained in the continental U.S.

Under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and with reintroduction efforts and the ban of the use of DDT, Bald Eagle populations recovered. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was officially removed from the federal Endangered Species list, though it remains threatened in Pennsylvania. There are more than 200 known breeding pairs in Pennsylvania, including two nests in the greater Pittsburgh area, at the Hulton Bridge in Harmar and the Keystone Iron & Metal in Hays.

The Bald Eagles at the National Aviary sustained injuries in the wild that would limit their chances of survival in the wild. They have a comfortable home at the National Aviary where their every need is met, and they serve as ambassadors for their species.

Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Nearctic

Habitat

Typically found near large bodies of water, including shorelines and coastlines, and usually near wooded areas; also utilizes open agricultural fields and marshes

Diet

Opportunistic foragers, eating a variety of live fish, bird, and mammal prey; fish stolen from other piscivores (animal that eats fish); scavanged fish and mammals

Status

Least concern

Breeding

Bald Eagle pairs together build among the largest of all bird nests, usually in the main fork of a tree, but also on the ground and on cliff ledges in treeless areas.

Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi

FUN FACT

The Bali Myna is the only endemic bird on the island of Bali. In 1991 it was designated the official faunal emblem of Bali; it also is featured on the Indonesian 200 rupiah coin.

The Bali Myna is a Critically Endangered endemic resident of Bali and surrounding small islands, where fewer than 100 individuals remain. Habitat destruction and capture for the illegal wildlife trade have significantly impacted this species. Community-based conservation efforts are underway to help save this species, as is a robust breeding program in zoos. In its native habitat, the Bali Myna prefers open woodlands with grass understory, where it frequents the overstory, but the Bali Myna avoids closed forest. This species feeds mostly in the trees, pursuing seeds, fruits, insects, and even small vertebrates such as geckos, but they have been known to perch on the backs of ungulates (mammals such as rhinoceros, tapirs, and boars) to feed on flies and other insects made available by the movements of the large animals. The Bali Myna nests in a natural tree hole or old woodpecker hole which it lines with dry twigs.

Bali Myna

Leucopsar rothschildi
Indo-Malayan

Habitat

Prefers open woodland with grass understory; avoids closed forest

Diet

Seeds, fruits, insects, worms, and even small vertebrates, such as geckos; feeds mostly in trees, but occasionally on the ground

Status

Critically endangered

Breeding

Both parents build a nest of dry twigs in a natural tree hole or old woodpecker hole. Incubation of a clutch of 2-3 eggs is handled mostly by the female. Eggs hatch after 12-15 days and are fed by both parents for up to 7 weeks after young fledge the nest, around 22-24 days.

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