2010–2012 Laughingthrushes

Breeding successes

Zoo Praha  |  15. 10. 2023

Important firsts in breeding

Photo: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo Photo: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo

Important firsts in breeding

These songbirds from the forests of East Asia are popular cage birds, which means many species are endangered. There has been little success at breeding them in captivity. Prague Zoo, where laughingthrushes have been kept for 30 years, is an exception in terms of both the number of species and individuals successfully reared.

Being birds that build open nests, laughingthrushes are sensitive to disturbance, be it from humans or other laughingthrushes. Therefore, we mainly breed them in the background facilities, where it’s possible to create quieter conditions. In addition, different species require different materials for nest building (bamboo, pine needles, grasses, leaves...) After successful nesting, we prefer to leave the clutch to the parents. However, if there is a risk it won’t succeed naturally, we can transfer the eggs to the hatchery, feed the chicks artificially or give them to foster parents. It is even possible to have interspecies fostering with laughingthrushes.

The Sumatran laughingthrush is an endangered species from the island of Sumatra. It was long thought to be a subspecies of the more common white-crested laughingthrush and thus neglected in breeding. In 2010, Prague Zoo became the first in Europe to breed this bird naturally.

Photo: Archiv Zoo Praha

The barred laughingthrush is endemic to the mountain forests of central China. By making use of fostering, we were the first in Europe to breed this species in 2011.

Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

The rufous-cheeked laughingthrush is a rarely kept species. Making its first ever natural breeding, which we managed in 2012, all the rarer.

Photo: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo

The blue-crowned laughingthrush is a critically endangered species from China, where it is estimated there are just 50 to 250 individuals. We were the first to breed it in the Czech Republic in 2012.