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Falcon chicks ages 12 and 7 days old - credit Sarah Woodruff

Two tiny African Pygmy Falcon chicks hatched on February 3 and February 8 are being hand-reared at the Franklin Park Zoo in Massachusetts.

Falcon chicks ages 13 and 8 days old - credit Sarah Woodruff

African pygmy falcon chicks, ages 7 and 12 days old - credit Jess Horens...
Photo Credits: Sarah Woodruff (1,2);  Jess Horens (3)


While the zoo staff always prefers to have baby animals raised by their parents, the staff feared the chicks would not survive without intervention.  The parents’ behavior during incubation showed that they would not have the skills to raise their chicks, so the eggs were placed in an incubator.   

Like any baby bird, raising African Pygmy Falcon chicks is extremely time-consuming.  In the first week after hatching, the staff fed the small birds six to seven times a day. Each week, the number of daily feedings decreases as the birds consume more food at each meal. By 24 to 26 days old, the birds will be able to feed themselves. 

“It takes a very dedicated effort to raise these tiny falcons,” said Fred Beall, Zoo New England General Curator. “We have had great success with this species at Franklin Park Zoo and are one of only a few zoos in North America that is successfully breeding African Pygmy Falcons. These hatches are a real reason to celebrate.”

Franklin Park Zoo has exhibited African Pygmy Falcons since 1999. The chicks are the offspring of a female that hatched at Franklin Park Zoo in 2012.

African Pygmy Falcons are native to the arid and semi-arid grasslands of eastern and southern Africa. These birds, which weigh less than one pound as adults, are the smallest of all African birds of prey and are about the same size as an American Robin.