A Colombian bird vendor repairs old speakers in his workshop in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. A Colombian bird vendor repairs old speakers in his workshop in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.
A Colombian bird vendor offers budgerigar parrots for sale in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. A Colombian bird vendor offers budgerigar parrots for sale in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.
Captured birds (baltimore orioles) are seen inside a birdcage in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. Captured birds (baltimore orioles) are seen inside a birdcage in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.
A young Colombian birdcage builder applies varnish on the wooden surface of a cage in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. A young Colombian birdcage builder applies varnish on the wooden surface of a cage in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.
Dozens of of birdcages, with various birds inside, are seen hung in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. Dozens of of birdcages, with various birds inside, are seen hung in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.
A Colombian bird vendor force-feeds an Amazon parrot, injecting liquid food into his beak, in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. A Colombian bird vendor force-feeds an Amazon parrot, injecting liquid food into his beak, in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.
A pet bird (an Amazon parrot), affected by severe feather loss, is seen inside a birdcage in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia. A pet bird (an Amazon parrot), affected by severe feather loss, is seen inside a birdcage in the bird market in Cartagena, Colombia.

Stolen freedom

Cartagena & Barranquilla (Colombia) – 2018 - 2019

Keeping caged birds in houses on the Caribbean coast of Colombia has a strong tradition and it dates back to Spanish colonial times. The habit is widely spread across all social classes and it is often passed through generations. Birds of all species have always been kept in cages for one reason: the bird’s singing. Those birds which can be taught to sing complex harmony lines or mimic sounds, and thus win popular bird singing competitions, are highly treasured. Although domesticated birds form a significant part of the Caribbean bird breeding culture, the wild songbirds (Colombia has the greatest bird diversity in the world) are frequently trapped by poverty-stricken villagers in the wild and sold as caged pets in bird markets.

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