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A Bird in Hand...

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is celebrating back-to-back baby birds with the hatching of four Elegant Crested Tinamou chicks and one Pygmy Falcon in late October. This species of tinamou is native to Chile and Argentina and the father raises the hatchlings. Pygmy Falcons live in Africa and are the continent's smallest bird of prey. The first two pictures are of the falcon and second two feature the tinamous.

Pygmy Falcon Chick national zoo 3 

Pygmy Falcon Chick national zoo 1 rs1 

Elegant crested tinamou national zoo 1 rs1 

Elegant crested tinamou national zoo 2
Photo credits: Mehgan Murphy / National Zoo

More pictures of both species and information available by clicking on "Continue Reading"


Pygmy Falcon Chick national zoo 2 

Pygmy Falcon Chick national zoo 1 rs2 

Elegant crested tinamou national zoo 3b2 

Elegant crested tinamou national zoo 4 

A first for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:  four elegant crested tinamou chicks hatched recently followed by one pygmy falcon chick which is the second chick of the Zoo’s falcon pair.

With the arrival of the adult female just five months ago, Zoo staff was extremely pleased to have the tinamou chicks hatch on Oct. 30 and 31.  In this species, the female lays olive green eggs and then leaves them, while the male assumes all the responsibility for the offspring. To date he has done well as a first-time father.

The elegant crested tinamous are native to Chile and Argentina and prefer dry savannahs and open woodlands. They are hunted commonly for food and sport, but currently the population is stable. The chicks are on public display at the Zoo’s Bird House.

The pygmy falcon chick was born on Oct. 20 and is expected to fledge around Nov. 20. It is on public display but spends all its time in the nest log, so it is not easily visible to the public. The chick will be fed anoles, pinky mice, crickets, fuzzy mice, hairless mice, meal worms and natural balance meat cubes.  Initially, daily supplemental feedings will be provided, which is somewhat complicated by the fact that the staff must protect themselves from the very aggressive parents during the feedings.  Pygmy chicks are born at about five grams, without feathers (altricial), and unable to see or thermo regulate.  Although 45 of these small raptors from southern Africa live in zoos in the U.S. and Canada, only three falcon chicks hatched in the last year.

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