The Great Billed Parrot, Tanygnathus megalorynchos, although exported to this country and
Europein small numbers in the 80's have not settled into their captive conditions so as to be considered being aviculturally established. Losses to disease and aggression have also been detrimental to the genus. The Phillipine Blue Naped Parrot, Tanygnathus lucionensis, one of the three species from the genus, has proven to be the most successful in captivity. The third of this group, the Müllers (Blue Backed Parrot), Tanygnathus sumatranus, has not been widely kept but does well in captive conditions and will reproduce. All three species are in need of concentrated effort by serious aviculturists if they are to remain in aviculture in years to come.
During the last few years some breeders have had ongoing success with the Great Billed parrot and they have begun to appear in the pet market, as have the Phillipine Blue Nape. Although they make beautifully elegant pets, with good talking ability, they are sometimes known as one of the touch-me-not parrots. Those kept as pets seem to thoroughly enjoy the company of their people but not much touching, an occasional kiss on the beak or back being more to their liking. They are typically very good eaters and enjoy a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their diet. Since the dietary needs are yet unknown, it has been suggested by vets who have seen them over the years, to keep additives to a minimum, especially in the form of pellets containing added calcium and Vitamin D. Recent findings from an ongoing study by Dr. David Phelan of Texas A&M University also indicates that the Tanygnathus need more fat in their diet than previously thought and we have suggested that each bird receive at least one cup of a good seed mix daily, in addition 6-8 large nuts and approximately two cups of fresh fruits and vegetables. Problems encountered with female aggression when pairs are set up for breeding can be greatly lessened if pairs are provided large flights (recommend at least 4x4x10) with separate feeding stations for each bird. Some keeping Great Billed Parrots as pets have experienced problems with picking or plucking of feathers. It is felt if they are provided with a large cage (large Amazon or Macaw-sized) with many toys, consistent out-time on a large playpen, frequent baths, and a very good diet, this problem can be avoided. For anyone who has had the pleasure of keeping any of the Tanygnathus, these added considerations are well worth the effort.
-- June Dinger, President of The Tanygnathus Society, 2003
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