Insectivorous Birds








My Son Christopher has been around birds all his life visiting most shows around the country with me, so it was no surprise when he started to keep his own birds. we now keep birds together as a partnership

We  have a good selection of hardbills and hybridising pairs, and just a few softbills so a chip of the old block.

Below are a few of the species we have kept over the years and some we still keep.


2010 Breeding Skylarks

Skylark Nest on the Aviary floor

Hen sitting eggs whilst cock keeps guard on his singing post
Left Above: Youngsters at 6 days old after they were rung      Right Above: young at about 14 days old

Youngsters left the nest and hiding around the aviary

Other Softbills

Grey Wagtails

These birds are still in Immature plumage and will become very yellow on the breast by the spring  and after there first full moult. this species is difficult to sex at this stage and the cocks are very aggressive so need to be split up, or moved to a large well planted avairy so the other birds can get away from any aggession, as the young cocks mature.

Pied Wagtail Cock


Much more sociable than the Grey, but can still cause trouble when in breeding condition.


Easier to sex as the cock gets a blackish back and more black on the head.


Can be kept with Thrushes with no problem in larger aviaries.


Pied Wagtail Hen



Cocks and hens are the same colour as imature birds but in the spring the cocks have a grey back and large black stripe through the eye,

quite an aggressive species best kept on there own, in a small aviary cocks become very aggressive so are best introduced to the hens at the start of breeding season and must be watched or else he will damage or even kill the hen in some cases.

Immature Redstart Cock

Cocks and hen are very easy to sex as they are sexually dimorphic this means that they are different in colour the hen is very drab brown with a ruffous tail,

Again treat this species the same as the wheatear as the cock does become aggresive.


Immature Stonechat

Both species are similar as youngsters but in spring the cock gets his black head then the sexes can be seen easily.

another immature Stonechat
Isabel Song Thrush Hen

This is a red eyed species not as red as the picture shows it was the flash from the camera that made this birds eyes so red.

Isabel is a form of Cinnamon Pastel.

Thrushes are becoming rare in the wild but are an easy species to breed in captivity.


Cinnamon Song Thush Hen

The Song thrush is a very sociable bird and can be kept with other species in a large aviary all year round.

Supply a tray of mud when nest building comences as the thrushes will need this to line their nests.

Great singer this species and loves snail from the garden give thrushes a stone to smash the snail shell with



Both sexes are similar so DNA sexing is the only guaranteed way of proving that you have a pair,

A larger aviary is best 10ft x 6ft is probably the minimum.

Must be kept on there own.

Jays become very tame especially when hand reared

Jays can be bred in a few colours cinnamon  and opal come to mind 

Can become very noisy and are a great alarm, this pair let us know when there is anything going on in the vicinity.

This species is one of our most colourful species, and a pest to other birds as it steals eggs and young chicks from other species in the wild, but a great bird for the aviary.

Black Capped Warbler

Very sociable bird and can be kept with other species,

Sexes can be seen in this picture the cock has a black cap and the hen has a brown cap.

Good bird to keep and relatively easy to breed.


Difficult to sex for the beginner, but the cock is redder on the flanks than the hen.


A great bird to watch in the aviary loves nuts and stripped sunflower

In the Aviary this bird spends most of its time on the floor just like quail, it even breeds on or near the floor,

Cocks are a lot bigger than hens, and the cocks have a wonderful song.

Good starter bird breeds very well in the Aviary and is also very sociable


Cocks get a yellow beak, and have a great song, not very sociable best kept on their own,

Quiet nervous not as steady as the Song Thrush

 Breeds very well in an aviary.



The Blackbird is available in a lot of different colours, which include Cinnamon, Pied, Silver, Pastel, and Isabel to name a few.



Willow Warbler

Very sociable birds, can be kept with other species.

 sexes are alike so better to DNA sex these birds, to save time and a wasted season,

This species being a migrant is better kept inside during the hard winter and returned to the aviaries when the worst of the weather has gone.

Our Dogs on guard duty and cat patrol

Our Cat on bird of prey and mouse patrol

Pity he wasn't around when this Sparrowhawk dropped in, or perhaps the Cat was safer in the house until it had gone. Where's the Dogs when you want them.

Christopher at the NEC, National Exhibition 1990  
Christopher at the first show of Staffordshire BB & MC Jan 1988.

Behind Chris is my dad on the left, with the late Peter Lander. selling his new book at the time British Birds in Aviculture.