Before the pandemic hit, we managed to get in one day trip out and the place we chose was somewhere that my cousin had told me about for years – Tropical Birdland in Leicestershire. It was quite an overcast and slightly chilly day but we almost had the place to ourselves and it was a great chance to meet the residents.
Parrots and more
When you first arrive at the site, there’s parking and facilities and before you have even paid a penny, you get to see some birds.
There’s a large aviary near the entrance with a pair of Great Curassow. These are birds from central and south America that are similar in size to a turkey with a weird yellow knob on their beaks! Although they weren’t too keen on posing for a photo.
One of the big attractions to Tropical Birdland is the parrots, and they have some of the huge guys there. The day we visited, a beautiful Blue and Gold Macaw met us at the entrance, studying us to see if we had treats!
Then you are into the enclosures, a whole series of good-sized aviary areas with a range of different residents. We saw Blue Headed Pionus, Yellow Collared Macaw and stunning Queen of Bavaria Conure among the first few aviary areas. There were also cockatoos and other conures.
Queen of Bavaria Conure
As well as the parrots, there’s a good number of other birds living there and some unusual residents.
The African Grey Hornbill is one of those impressive-looking guys who I’d rather not hand feed! Nearby was another fascinating bird but not one I’d hold a hand out to as they are carnivores – Kookaburras.
For me, the most impressive residents were the Keas. These big parrots are native to New Zealand and aren’t frequently seen in captivity in the UK so I was really impressed to see them. They were very friendly and came to the bars for little food treats.
Ducks and more
Another feature I enjoyed was the large walk-in aviary with the pond and lots of big trees. There was a whole range of different species including ducks such as the Teal. One of my favourites was spotting a softbill, a Red-vented bulbul who followed us at a distance to see if we had treats for him!
There were also Chinese Golden Pheasants, unmistakable with their rainbow colours as well as several types of pigeon.
On the other side of the walk-in aviary were more parrots including a whole colony of Military Macaws.
The emu reminded us just how big birds can get! He had his own open enclosure in the centre of the park and gave everyone a haughty look as we passed.
You then reach the top of the loop and start heading back. It was great to see some familiar faces in the budgie and cockatiel enclosure as well as the ringneck and Alexandrine parakeets.
And if you are a pink fan, you’ll love the Galah Cockatoos! They have bright pink and grey plumage and are very friendly, coming to the bars to see who is going past.
Free flying parrots
The final part of the trail is the best – the free-flying parrot area. Here there’s loads of parrots on different stands and in the trees that are free-flying and come to meet you when you walk over.
There are lots of macaw, caiques, Amazons and even a Hyacinth Macaw! These huge and stunning birds are a little on the big size for most of the kids but they are very friendly.
Just be aware that at any moment, you could get a bird on your head, shoulder or arm. So a hood or a cap isn’t a bad idea for this area!
A great day out
Tropical Birdland may not have the size or range of species that the zoos have but it is a well-organised place to visit. There’s a good range of really interesting birds as well as some familiar faces. And the chance to have a Hyacinth Macaw sitting on your shoulder and taking food from you was worth the trip in itself for me!