Walking into the Aviary inside Unseen New World a few things are obvious: the constant 76 degree temperature, tall trees, rushing water, and noisy birds. However, it is easy to walk in and out without getting the full experience.
Use this guide to make sure you don’t miss the diversity of animals in this exhibit!
There are currently 12 species of birds from Central and South America and Africa along with two species of turtles and three species of lizards. Some of the best sights in the Aviary are watching a cardinal take a bath in the stream, a dove basking in the sun or the green woodhoopoes preening each other with their long, slender red beaks. The deeper you look, the more you will see.
One of the stars of the Aviary is the stunningly colorful paradise tanager. Both males and females have bright green heads that contrast their red, blue, and black body. Native to the forests of South America, our paradise tanagers prefer to stay high in the canopy in the Aviary.
Unlike the busy activity of the cacique, the blue crowned motmot will sit in a tree next to the upstairs viewing area. If you listen closely, you can catch the males and females making calls back and forth to each other. If they are startled or alarmed, they begin a ratchet sound as they rock their tail back and forth, similar to the pendulum of a grandfather clock.
Try and spot the black-spotted barbet. It's different from many birds because they have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward; similar to their woodpecker and toucan cousins. The barbets make a sound similar to the cooing of a dove. But don't mistake them for our two croaking ground doves who make sounds similar to the croak of a frog!
It's best to visit the Aviary early in the morning after they birds have their breakfast or later in the afternoon. The Aviary can be a tranquil place to stop, relax, and enjoy many different species of birds and other animals before heading back out to the Zoo trails.
Whether you’re available for a day or are looking for a long-term volunteer opportunity – you can make a valuable contribution to the Zoo’s volunteer team!
Nashville Zoo relies on your support to continue providing extraordinary animal care and education programs for the community, as well as our critical conservation initiatives.