From the long-legged emu to the splendid sunbird, there are over 100 species of bird at ZSL London Zoo. In our Victorian tropical bird house Blackburn Pavilion and all over the Zoo.
ZSL is also working hard in the field to save many bird species and their habitats. Find out more.
Take flight to the Blackburn Pavilion, and be transported to our wonderful tropical walk-through! Come nose-to-beak with exotic toucans, soaring starlings, kooky kookaburras, and plush partridges.
Our exhibit allows visitors to enter a world of lush rainforest foliage and waterfalls, and catch flashes of colour from the vast array of beaks, wings, and feathers fluttering on display, with many free flying around their new tropical home.
An important part of ZSL London Zoo’s heritage, Blackburn Pavilion provides a tranquil tropical home for more than 50 different species of birds. Originally built in 1883 as a Reptile House, this marvellous Victorian building has been restored to provide our flocks with a splendid place to spread their wings.
Follow the boardwalk into the tropical walkthrough where the rainforest environment is recreated. Continue through to the cloud forest where you will be captivated by the iridescent hues, tiny sizes and super-fast wing beats of these tiny birds as they flutter past in free flight. The lofty pavilion provides an abundance of space for the birds to fly through the foliage; you will feel like you are meandering through the heart of the Amazon!
Birds play a vital role that is integral to the environment around us. As well as giving visitors the opportunity to experience and share the birds’ habitat, Blackburn Pavilion provides safe surroundings for species that are in danger of becoming extinct or are already extinct in the wild, including the Socorro Dove, which is bred only in captivity until they can be reintroduced to the wild to ensure the survival of the species.
So put away your binoculars and come see these amazing creatures of flight up close and personal in the Blackburn Pavilion.
Watch the video of the restoration of Blackburn Pavillion:
Browse our online gallery of some of the wonderful bird species that can be found in Blackburn Pavilion, our new tropical bird walk-through.
Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo are taking a walk on the wild side, embarking on a daily stroll around the 36-acre site, accompanied by a pair of vultures.
Black vultures (Coragyps atratus), Guido and Jaffar, are being taken for walks by their dedicated zookeepers to encourage the newly-paired males to establish a firm friendship.
10-year-old Jaffar is a new arrival at ZSL London Zoo, and will be making a star appearance alongside nine-year-old pro Guido in the Zoo’s popular ‘Deadly Birds’ demonstration when it returns this spring, and keepers want to make sure the duo get to know one another first.
The new routine is proving to be popular with the extremely friendly vultures, but has earned the keepers a few open-mouthed stares from visitors who seem unsure what to make of the unlikely group.
Zookeeper Grant Kother said: “We’ve had a few strange looks from visitors when we’re out on the walks with the vultures – with their comical hopping gait, and huge 1.9 metre wing span (4.9feet), they’re hard to miss!
“The walks are really beneficial for these incredibly intelligent birds, not only are they forming a great bond with each other, but Jaffar loves getting attention from his keepers and is really enjoying his new training here at ZSL London Zoo.
“Vultures are in global decline, particularly in Asia and Nepal, due to ingesting a medicine given to the cows which they eat, and Guido and Jaffar’s role in the Deadly Birds demonstration is to help our visitors better understand why these amazing birds need our protection and what ZSL is doing to save them.”
Keepers use nothing but the birds’ favourite meaty snacks to keep Guido and Jaffar ‘to heel’; but the birds do occasionally take off for a quick circuit around the zoo – demonstrating their natural behaviour of circling the skies to search for food.
Referred to as nature’s bin-men, vultures play a vital role in keeping their wild habitats clean and free of disease by feasting almost exclusively on carrion – the carcasses of dead animals. While they have no hope of finding any carrion in the Zoo, they are rewarded upon their return to their keepers with titbits of quail and mice.