There are so many fantastic friends to meet at Birdworld! Our farm is home to everything fluffy and furry from guinea pigs and rabbits to donkeys, ponies and even reindeer. And in our aquarium we have crocodiles, piranha and seahorses as well as lots of unusual marine species. Find out more about our residents, from how they live both in the wild and here at the park to what they like for breakfast!
Penguins are everyone’s favourite and, resembling old men in dinner jackets they never fail to raise a smile! There are 17 species of penguin throughout the world, all of which are found in the southern hemisphere, with the most southerly species in the Antarctic and the most northerly, as high up as the equator.
Here at Birdworld you will find two species and feeding takes place twice a day. Many of our visitors enjoy the added excitement of actually joining the bird keepers to serve up their fishy meals as part of one of the Birdworld experiences!
The Humboldt’s Penguins have been a popular feature at Birdworld ever since Johnny Morris officially opened Penguin Island in 1982. Since that time Birdworld has had huge success in breeding the species with over 300 young birds both establishing and increasing other colonies right around the world.
Humboldt’s penguins come from the coastal regions of Chile and Peru and their name originates from the cold ocean currents called the Humboldt straights. Many people associate penguins with icy, snow covered landscapes but these penguins, as with many of the 17 penguin species, thrive in a hot climate, which suits them well as long as they have cold waters nearby in which to fish.
African penguins (sometimes known as Jackass penguins) are a more recent addition to the park. Their home at Birdworld, Penguin Beach, is a re-creation of Robben Island, just off the coast of South Africa, which again has a hot climate surrounded by cold ocean currents. Many people will know Robben Island for its prison and in particular where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for many years. Wildlife abounds on the island and all of the species that you will find in Penguin Beach are indigenous to the region. Entering the exhibit via the Robben Island ferryboat you will find yourself on the quayside, overlooking the water with views back towards Table Top Mountain on the mainland. Boardwalks will lead you out across the beach and past the nesting area. Although a fairly new colony, the African penguins at Birdworld are obviously quite happy as they are successfully breeding already and will hopefully go on to support other captive colonies throughout the zoo community.
As one of Birdworld’s single largest aviaries, Parrots in Flight is, as you would expect, a huge free flight space allowing its many residents the freedom to stretch their wings. This is always a colourful, noisy and vibrant exhibit and is hugely popular with the many parrot lovers who visit the park.
There are of course many species of parrots and you will find a real cross section of these here at Birdworld. The largest are the macaws, followed by cockatoos, amazons down to the smaller conjures and parakeets. This is certainly an aviary to spend some time in – sit back for a few moments and you will be rewarded by the comical behaviour of these fascinating birds.
Take a journey to the other side of the world to visit Birdworld’s budgies. Outback Landing is a fantastic walk-through aviary with a little lighthearted Australian theming where you can immerse yourself amongst these chattering and constantly active little parrots. Keeping them company are a flock of zebra finches plus other small birds equally at home in the Outback. But look out and be prepared to duck as you may well be in a flight path!!
This is a collection of smaller aviaries and is home to many of the lorikeets, lories and other smaller parrot species here at Birdworld. All the colours of the rainbow can be found with this group of birds and these incredible colours, along with their shrill calls, make this area one for the senses!
Although there are Hornbills and Toucans dotted around many of the aviaries, most of them can be found together in one large group, aptly named ‘ The Hornbill Block’. All these birds are real characters and as such always end up as birds that many visitors will linger to interact with. Everyone’s initial favourite is the Toco Toucans due to their popularity from ‘Guinness’ fame but many of the larger Hornbills soon become faves too. But do beware as long beaks and close range camera lenses can sometimes end in a sudden reduction of fondness!!
As the name suggests, this range of individual aviaries forms a large pleasing curve and is home to a whole multitude of species. Amongst the regular inhabitants, you will often find starlings, pigeons and thrushes – but not the sort you may be used to seeing as these are the brightly coloured cousins of those you would normally have visiting your garden and some of the colours are stunning.
Enjoy a stroll through our coastal estuary themed exhibit- Seashore Walk. Take some time to enjoy the natural behaviour of the many different waders as they use their specially adapted beaks to sift and probe for a tasty snack. Overhead you will see wheeling terns and choughs as they enjoy the space that this large walk-through area has to offer.
This is one of the undercover areas at Birdworld but even on the sunniest of days, the cool corridors are a lovely place to immerse your self in the birdsong which accompanies relaxing background music. There is ample seating so do take a break here to enjoy the variety of different birds and cold water fish. In autumn and winter this area does undergo a seasonal change as Halloween takes over for the late October half term followed by Santa’s Winter Wonderland throughout December.
This is where the larger feathered residents of Birdworld can be found and include cranes, storks, rheas and even emus. Some of the areas can be viewed from shelters but a great way to see them in comfort is from the ‘Safari Road Train’ ride and this trip is accompanied by a bird keeper’s commentary.
In this area you will also see Birdworld’s Great Bustards. These amazing birds (thought to be the largest flying animals in the world) are part of a conservation project run by the Great Bustard Group, which has the aim of re introducing this indigenous species back to the English landscape following their extinction in this country from hunting in the 19th century.
Silent and somewhat mysterious, owls will quietly observe you from their perches. Although most owls are similar due to a short tail, hooked beak for tearing meat and sharp powerful talons for gripping prey, you may well be surprised by the variety of shape and size. Most owls have a facial disc of feathers, which acts as a satellite dish to pick up sounds and direct it to the ears. We often think of owls as intelligent however this is not really true and this belief has only really come about as their forward facing eyes make them look more human!
For a better insight into the owls of Birdworld, why not join our bird keeper led ‘Owl Prowl’ feeding tour. This takes place daily starting from the aviaries adjacent to the large ‘Parrots in Flight’ aviary.
Birdworld is home to many species of underwater creatures from fish of all colours and sizes from all corners of the globe, to reptiles and fascinating creatures such as seahorses. We have a fearsome shoal of piranhas, a soft-shelled turtle, four-eyed fish, African dwarf crocodiles and a wonderful selection of freshwater displays.
Our wild birds. While not ours the wild birds fly in for a treat when they see goodies on offer in the park. You can never see the park without Herons in attendance waiting for the leftover fish after each penguin feed!