The Albuquerque Biological Park's two month old Caribbean Flamingo chick is learning the ins and outs of life on top of stilt like legs in the pictures below. Looking like something out of the age of dinosaurs, the chick is being hand-reared but gradually introduced to the flock it will join once it is fully grown.
FLAMINGO HATCHED AT BIOPARK ZOO
ABQ BioPark is pleased to announce the hatching of a female Caribbean flamingo on July 12, 2010. The egg was produced by parents “Moose” and “Mini.” Staff removed the egg from their mud nest to artificially incubate it due to possible predation. They are hand rearing the chick. The chick will not join the flock until it is close to fully grown. However, it may be seen occasionally in the flamingo exhibit with a staff member. It is being introduced for short intervals as time allows.
The parent birds were hatched at the Biopark from eggs collected at the racetrack in Hialeah Park in Florida. Hialeah is an important partner to North American zoos in maintaining captive flocks. The chick is a welcome addition to the Caribbean flamingo populations. Caribbean flamingos are at risk due to habitat loss, climate change and human development, including oil rigs found off the coasts of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Central and South America.
A baby flamingo hatches with downy white or grey plumage. Through successive molts over about three years, they gradually develop the characteristic adult coloration. The pink coloration comes from food—red pigments, called carotenoids, are found in the algae and crustaceans they eat. Visitors will be able to identify the chick by its duller coloration when it is mingling with the adult birds on staff-accompanied visits to the exhibit.