Domestic Bird Species

Close up of a cockatoo eating a tangerine.
Images say more about me than words. / Getty Images

The term "domestic" describes any bird that has been bred within the country it resides in. In the United States, domestic birds are birds that are bred and hatched on US soil. They normally have a closed band around their leg to show that they have been domestically bred.

Although Cockatoos come from Australia, the ones kept as pets in the US are domestic.

Domestic Bird

The term "Domestic Bird" simply means that it was neither wild caught nor bred in another country and imported. Its parents bred in this country and the baby was hatched here. That makes the bird a domestic bird. 

Indigenous Bird

However, this does not imply however they this bird is "indigenous." Indigenous simply means that the people plants or species of animals naturally come or occurred in a particular place. Neither Andean Condors nor Cockatoos originally come from the United States. And yet, according to the definition both could possibly be considered domestic by a strict definition of the word.

Andean Condors

In the summer of 2016, the Cincinnati Zoo had a pair of Andean Condors hatch a baby. It was a big deal at this zoo as well as all over the zoo community as a chick of this species had not been hatched at this Zoo in 30 years. The adult pair, named Gryph and Laurel were spotted with the baby chick. Much was made about this event because it was only the 14th chick to be successfully hatched in the past decade. 

Andean Condors are notoriously slow breeders as the offspring stay with their parents for a long time before setting out on their own. This species is found in the Western Hemisphere but it is indigenous to areas of the Andes Mountains in South America. It is the largest flying bird in the world and they typically weigh over thirty pounds with over a 10-foot wingspan. They are indigenous to Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. 

Andean Condor
Mark Newman / Getty Images

A Catch to Classification

While you might consider the baby condor that hatched at the Cincinnati Zoo to be considered "domestic," and technically it is, there is a catch to this classification. This is a protected species because it is indeed endangered. Andean Condors only have a chick every other year in the wild and it is even more difficult to hatch viable eggs in captivity. 

So while it is protected, the direction this chick is going is still being decided. Due to the fact that these magnificent birds are indeed endangered, there is a breeding program in place. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums’(AZA) has a species survival plan that will determine where the chick will go and for how long.

​In the meantime, she will remain with her parents who are about both about 34 years old until it is decided where she will go. She will most likely be entered into a breeding program when she is old enough to breed. Andean Condors go into breeding condition rather later as far as birds go. They generally do not begin to breed until they are about six years of age. 

The Andean Condor Is Endangered

The Andean Condor has been classified as "Endangered" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so they want to work with the Cincinnati Zoo to get this bird into a breeding program so they can possibly release any offspring back into the wild. Andean Condor chicks don't even attempt to leave the nest until they are about 6 months of age as they are slow to develop. 

Many zoos have what are called "staging sites" for birds who are destined to be returned to the wild in their natural habitat. A bird must be conditioned to be released both through acclimation to weather as well as well as self-feeding for a period of time. They must be able to thermoregulate, meaning that they can control their body temperature. Bird to be released back into the wild need to be disease-free and should be able to fly, perch and move naturally.

While the Zoo's pair of condors has been breeding regularly and while they had one egg a year, they were only successful this year. Experts at the zoo had installed a very big nesting box weighing over three hundred pounds which provided the pair with a dark, cave-like structure in which to breed and care for their egg and care for the baby that they successfully hatched.