Tony Silva became mesmerized with parrots when 10 years old, when he started visiting a pet store that exhibited a Blue and Gold Ara ararauna and Scarlet Macaw Ara macao. The store owner claimed that macaws mated in the air and would not breed in captivity. That concept seemed incredible and sparked an interest that resulted in him acquiring his first big parrot by age 16 (in 1976). Soon the number of species and individuals grew and by 1978 Tony had achieved the first US breeding of the Slender-billed Conure Enicognathus leptorhynchus.
Tony’s curiosity, early success and interest led to more species being acquired and in travels to the Caribbean and South America to study parrots in the wild, as direct observations in the field were considered key to achieving success in captivity. Tony’s first significant field studies were conducted in Argentina during the 1980s, when weight and growth gains of hand-reared young Amazona aestiva were compared to young being reared in the wild by their parents. The next decade resulted in more species being studied and bred; to date, Tony has studied parrots in the field in Asia, Africa, all of Latin America and the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Tony has kept and bred in his private collection or during his tenure as Curator at Loro Parque 82% of all parrot species. His breeding achievements includes the Spix’s Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii, this while working with various individuals and government agencies to establish the Spix’s Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii recovery program — a project that has helped save this species from extinction.
During an avicultural career spanning more than four decades, Tony has had hundreds of articles published. These have appeared in English, Spanish, French, Czech, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and other languages. Tony has lectured on parrots in all continents and has had seven books published.
Tony just recently completed co-authoring a paper naming and description a new member of the genus Amazona.
Tony maintains a large breeding collection and a rescue center for unwanted parrots in south Florida. Both facilities allow him to continue to expand on his vast knowledge base.