Penguin Chick Goes For Its First Swim

Penguin Chick Square

A two-month old African Penguin chick went for its first swim at the Tulsa Zoo.

The chick hatched on January 17 to mom Keppy, age 26, and her mate Rogue, age 9. Keppy is the third-oldest member of the Tulsa Zoo’s penguin flock.

Penguin 1
Penguin 1Photo Credit: Tulsa Zoo

The chick’s gender is not yet known. A DNA sample will be sent to an outside lab to determine the new Penguin’s sex.

Last week, the chick enjoyed its first swim under close supervision in a small pool behind-the-scenes. Penguin chicks have fluffy down feathers, which are not as water repellent as the feathers of adult Penguins. Until chicks molt into their waterproof adult plumage when they're a few months old, they are not able to swim well.

“Keppy became a great-grandmother last year,” said Tulsa Zookeeper Seana Flossic. “We are delighted for Keppy and Rogue, a 9-year-old male, to enjoy parenthood together for the first time. They are doing a great job caring for their new chick.”

Seana Flossic manages the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s African Penguin Studbook as a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), keeping records on all AZA members’ flocks. The SSP makes recommendations on breeding and transfers to ensure the long-term health of this species.

This chick is the 37th penguin to hatch at the Tulsa Zoo since 2002.

African Penguins are native to the southern coast of Africa and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The population has fallen from more than one million birds in 1900 to fewer than 80,000 today. Oil spills and competition with commercial fisheries have contributed to the birds’ steep decline.

Meet Milwaukee's Newest Penguin Chick

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Meet the new Gentoo Penguin at Milwaukee County Zoo! The chick hatched on December 18 to parents Oscar and Fiona.

The chick still has its soft, fluffy down feathers, which provide warmth but are not suited for swimming. Only when the chick molts into its waterproof plumage, usually around one or two months of age, will it begin learning to swim.

Gentoo Penguin Chick 01-2018-9155 E
Gentoo Penguin Chick 01-2018-9155 EPhoto Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

Gentoo Penguin parents take turns feeding and caring for their chicks. Both Oscar and Fiona have reared chicks before. The gender of the new chick is not yet known, and will be determined by a blood test. It’s not possible to tell males from females by sight alone.

Penguin chicks at the zoo must learn to take fish from zoo keepers, and this training usually occurs after they have been weaned from their parents and begin to molt. It’s during the molt that the chick’s “baby fuzz” is replaced by sleek, waterproof feathers.

Once the chick has its shiny new feathers, it will be gradually introduced to the exhibit pool and to the other birds in the habitat.

Gentoo Penguins are native to Antarctica. They stand two to three feet tall as adults, making them the third-largest Penguin species, after Emperor and King Penguins. Gentoos live in colonies of several hundred birds along the Antarctic Coast and surrounding islands. These Penguins may dive as many as 500 times per day in search of fish, krill, and squid to eat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Gentoo Penguin as a “Species of Least Concern,” though some individual populations have declined rapidly in recent years.


Flamingo Chick Hatches While Zoo Visitors Watch


There’s a new addition to the Greater Flamingo family at New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo. The little chick hatched on January 9 in the Flamingo exhibit as an amazed group of zoo visitors looked on.

26805241_10155289488526984_7604419657559629367_nPhoto Credit: Auckland Zoo

This is the first time a Flamingo chick hatched on exhibit at the zoo, and it’s also the first chick to be parent-reared at the zoo. (All of the other chicks hatched at the zoo have been hand-reared by zoo staff.)

The chick’s parents are Cheviot and Neil, who are also the parents of a young female named Otis. For the first few days after hatching, Cheviot and Neil shared the task of sitting on the chick until it learned to walk. Now, the chick explores on its own, with mom or dad close by.

As you look at these photos of the chick over its first nine days of life, you can see how the chick has changed.  At first, the chick had a gold-colored egg tooth at the tip of its beak. This tiny projection is found in reptiles and some birds and helps the chick to internally pip and break through its eggshell.  It eventually falls off as it is no longer needed.

Just after hatching, the chick had a red bill and plump pink legs. After about a week, the chick’s beak and legs turned very dark purple.

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It's Not a Cotton Ball - It's a Tawny Frogmouth Chick!

Is it a cotton ball? A fuzzy marshmallow? No – it’s a five-day-old Tawny Frogmouth chick!

The chick hatched on August 31 at Vogelpark Olching, a bird park near Munich, Germany.  For obvious reasons, the staff decided to name the chick Fluffy. This is the first Tawny Frogmouth chick to hatch at the park.

21272575_1781307301898482_3827841287168356698_nPhoto Credit: Vogelpark Olching

Vogelpark Olching has kept Tawny Frogmouths for four years, but at first held only male birds. In April, two females arrived to pair with the males. In only three weeks, one of the females began laying eggs.  The first two clutches of eggs were infertile, but from the third clutch, little Fluffy hatched.

Keepers allowed the first-time parents to rear their chick but after a few days, they realized the parents were not caring for the chick properly. Fluffy was moved to an incubator and is being hand-reared by the care team.

Fluffy’s dark feathers are already beginning to come in, and he will soon develop the mottled brown-and-gray coloration of an adult Tawny Frogmouth (see photo below). 

Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia and are named for their wide, frog-like mouths. They feed at night on moths, spiders, worms, beetles, scorpions, frogs, and reptiles. Their coloration and ability to sit motionless provide excellent camouflage, making the birds nearly impossible to detect as they perch in trees. To increase the effect, they often sit with the head tilted upward to mimic a broken tree branch. These birds are often mistaken for owls, but they are not closely related.

Tawny Frogmouths are widespread in Australia and not currently under significant threat.

The photo above shows an adult Tawny Frogmouth at Vogelpark Olching.


Great Argus Pheasant Chicks Hatch at Chester Zoo

1_Rare pheasant chicks hatch in Chester Zoo first  (25)

A rare Pheasant, usually found in the rainforests of South East Asia, has been successfully bred at Chester Zoo for the first time. Two Great Argus Pheasant chicks hatched on May 3, after a 24-day incubation.

With Great Argus Pheasant numbers in steep decline across much of its native range, keepers at the Zoo have hailed the arrival of the young pair.

The birds, which are found on the Malaysian peninsula, south Myanmar, South West Thailand, Borneo and Sumatra, are iconic in their homeland but are threatened by hunting and habitat loss.

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3_Rare pheasant chicks hatch in Chester Zoo first  (18)

4_Rare pheasant chicks hatch in Chester Zoo first  (22)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo 

Andrew Owen, Curator of Birds, said, “The Great Argus Pheasant [Argusianus argus] is under real pressure in parts of South East Asia. Like so many bird species in that part of the world, they are the victim of rapid deforestation and illegal trapping.”

“Great Argus males, in particular, are amongst the most unusual and distinctive of all birds, with their astonishingly long wing and tail feathers adorned with thousands of eye-spots. It is their beauty, which is, in part, what makes them so prized by hunters. To have two chicks hatch here for the very first time in the zoo’s long history is a great achievement; they’re certainly important young birds.”

As part of its mating ritual, the male constructs a ring on the ground out of sticks and twigs, then calls to entice a female to enter into the circle. He then performs a mating dance, culminating in him spreading his wings wide to show off a complex pattern of eyespots in his plumage.

It is these ‘eye-spots’ that give the Argus Pheasant its name: Argus Panoptes (or Argos) being a many-eyed giant in Greek mythology.

The Great Argus Pheasant has been evaluated and is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.

More great pics below the fold!

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Meet Pedro & Perdy the Penguins

Two penguin Chicks 2 - Paradise Park

Two rare Humboldt Penguin chicks named Pedro and Perdy are being reared by keepers at Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary.

Penguins typically lay two eggs a few days apart. When the first chick hatches, it receives all of mom and dad’s attention. Penguin chicks are very demanding and squeal loudly as they appeal for food, which is regurgitated by the parents.  By the time the second chick hatches a few days after its sibling, the older chick, which may have nearly doubled in size by now, continues to get all the attention and parents may ignore the younger chick. The younger chicks in penguin nests often do not survive in nature.

Because Humboldt Penguins are rare, keepers took the Pedro and Perdy, who were both second chicks, into their care to ensure the birds’ survival.

Two penguin Chicks - Paradise Park
Two penguin Chicks 4 - Paradise ParkPhoto Credit: Paradise Park
Keeper Bev Tanner explains, “Pedro and Perdy are being hand-reared as often in a nest with two chicks only one is successfully raised by the parents. As this is an endangered species it is very worthwhile for us to take the second chick and rear it to increase our flock.”   

When chicks are in the nest, they have fluffy grey down feathers. They remain in the nest for about three months, at which time they have developed the waterproof plumage needed for swimming. Juveniles are grey and white, developing the distinctive black-and-white adult plumage at one year old. The pattern of dark speckles on the adult’s lower chest is unique to each Penguin and helps to identify each individual.

Humboldt Penguins are native to the western coast of South America, where they fish in the cold Humboldt current for which they are named.  They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Historically, Humboldt Penguins were threatened by extensive mining for their guano (accumulated droppings), which was used for fertilizer. Today, the main threats are habitat loss and competition with invasive species.

See more photos of Pedro and Perdy below.

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Frogmouth Chicks Hatch at Paradise Park

Tawny Frogmouth Chicks 2 - Paradise Park CornwallTwo Tawny Frogmouth chicks that hatched in early April are being hand-reared at Paradise Park in the United Kingdom.

“The parents have sadly not been very successful in the past at raising their own chicks. So the decision was made to hand-rear these two to give them the best chance of survival,” explains zoo keeper Sarah-Jayne Cooke. The chicks are weighed regularly and are thriving on a diet of tasty worms.

Tawny Frogmouth Chick - Paradise Park Cornwall
Tawny Frogmouth Chick eating worms - Paradise Park Cornwall
Tawny Frogmouth Chick - Paradise Park Cornwall
Tawny Frogmouth Chicks - Paradise Park CornwallPhoto Credit:  Paradise Park

Tawny Frogmouths are native to Australia and are known for their ability to sit nearly undetected in the trees during the day. Their cryptic coloration allows them to blend in against tree trunks, and their habit of sitting immobile with head pointed upward gives the appearance of a broken branch.

Frogmouths are considered one of Australia’s most important pest-controlling birds. They feed at night on spiders, worms, slugs, wasps, ants, and other invertebrates.  

These birds mate for life and typically raise one to three chicks in loose grass-and-stick nest.

At present, Tawny Frogmouths are not threatened with extinction, but human activity is having an impact on the wild population. House cats prey on these birds, and Frogmouths are often struck by cars as they pursue flying insects illuminated by vehicle headlights.  Because Frogmouths tend to remain in the same home area for up to a decade, they become vulnerable when forests are cut for development. 


Exotic Hatchlings Are a First for Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami is proud to announce the recent hatching of two remarkable chicks. For the first time in the Zoo’s history, keepers welcomed the arrival of a Secretary Bird and a Great Blue Turaco.

The Great Blue Turaco hatched on February 7th after an incubation period of 31 days and weighed just over 40 grams.

Great Blue Turacos are the largest of all of the Turacos, reaching an overall length of 30 inches and a weight of close to 3 pounds. They are found in the canopies of forests in Central and Western Africa and feed on a variety of fruits, leaves, flowers, shoots and insects.

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Blue Turaco adult 1A

4_Blue Turaco adult 2APhoto Credits: Ron Magill / Zoo Miami (Images 1-5: Great Blue Turaco hatchling and adult / Images 6-10: Secretary Bird hatchling and adult)

The Secretary Bird hatched on February 15th after an incubation of 42 days and weighed just over 86 grams.  

Secretary Birds are found in African savannahs and woodlands, south of the Sahara, and have the longest legs of any bird of prey. They grow to be almost 5 feet tall with a wingspan that can approach 7 feet.

Though they will eat a variety of reptiles and small mammals, they are famous for hunting and eating snakes, including venomous ones. They hunt by walking on the ground and, when they see a prey species, will stomp on it with great quickness and force until it is incapacitated and can be eaten.

They get their name from their resemblance to male secretaries of the early 1700’s who wore gray tail coats and placed quilled pens behind their ears, which are replicated in appearance by the specialized feathers that stick out of the back of the head of Secretary Birds.

The Great Blue Turaco is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, the Secretary Bird is classified as “Vulnerable”.

Young Secretary Birds are preyed upon by crows, ravens, hornbills, large owls and kites, as they are vulnerable in their Acacia tree top nests. As a population, their main threats are loss of habitat and deforestation.

More great pics below the fold!

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Critically Endangered Magpie Bred at Chester Zoo

1_Javan green magpie chick at Chester Zoo (2)

Four Javan Green Magpies have hatched at Chester Zoo. This is the first time the world’s rarest Magpie has been bred in a UK zoo, which provides a major boost to conservation efforts to save this species from extinction.

Conservationists and bird staff at the Zoo are making every effort to try and save the species, which has been trapped to the very brink in its native Indonesian forests. Chester Zoo has been working with assistance from Taman Safari Indonesia and conservation partners, Cikananga Wildlife Centre.

In late 2015, six pairs of the birds were flown from Java, Indonesia to Chester to establish a conservation breeding and insurance population for the species in Europe, before the birds vanish in the wild altogether.

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3_Javan green magpies at Chester Zoo

4_Javan green magpies at Chester Zoo (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The Javan Green Magpie (Cissa thalassina) is native to western Java in Indonesia and inhabits dense montane forests. Their bright green plumage is attained through the food the birds eat: insects, frogs and lizards.

The species is listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but bird experts are warning that the situation may have worsened in recent months, amid fears that the rare Magpies may now be close to extinction in the wild, with no recent sightings reported.

However, the breeding of the four new chicks at Chester Zoo has given a huge lift to conservation efforts to save the birds. Andrew Owen, the Zoo’s Curator of Birds, explains the importance of the breeding successes, “I have had the privilege of working with many rare and beautiful birds, but none are more precious than the Javan Green Magpie: one of the world’s most endangered species.

“We’ve been working with our conservation partners in Java - the Cikananga Wildlife Centre - for more than six years. In that time we’ve seen Javan Green Magpies disappear almost completely from the wild as they are captured for the illegal bird trade. Huge areas of forests that were once filled with beautiful songbirds are falling silent.

“Knowing that our first pair had nested was a momentous occasion for us - seeing the first chick was even more special. All four chicks have now fledged and are currently sporting blue feathers, which will eventually turn apple green as they mature.

“So far we have successfully bred from two adult pairs and these four chicks are a vital addition to the worldwide population. Every individual we breed here could help save the species as the clock is ticking and time is running out.”

Mike Jordan, Collections Director at Chester Zoo, added, “The rapid decline of the Javan Green Magpie in the wild is due to on-going trapping pressures, agricultural intrusion and a continued loss of suitable forest habitat in west Java in Indonesia.

“We started the first ever European conservation breeding programme for the species when six pairs of Javan Green Magpies arrived in Chester in December last year. Our specialist team, in conjunction with two other top European zoos, is aiming to ensure their continued survival.

“Our long-term aim is to return birds bred here in the UK and Europe to the forests of Indonesia.”

The arrival of the four chicks brings the total number of Javan Green Magpies at Chester Zoo to eleven. The Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre currently has 19 birds, all under the expert care of Chester Zoo staff and local Indonesian experts.

Chester Zoo’s Act for Wildlife conservation campaign has recently launched a new initiative to raise vital funds to build new aviaries at the breeding centre in Java, which are in danger of collapse due to the destructive humidity and termites. Find more information here:   Or here: 

More beautiful pics, below the fold!

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Turaco Chick Comes Out Of Its Shell

Great Blue Touraco Chick at Paradise Park CornwallWhat did zoo keepers do when two little chicks were reluctant to leave their eggs?  At Great Britain’s Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary, keepers helped the tiny birds come out of their shells, ensuring the survival of two healthy Great Blue Turaco chicks.

Great Blue Touraco Chick feeding at Paradise Park Cornwall
Keeper Becky Waite with Great Blue Touraco Chick Paradise Park
Photo Credit:  Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoo keeper Becky Waite explains that the zoo’s adult female Turacos are temperamental nesters, sometimes pushing eggs out of the nest or failing to feed their chicks.  To give the Turaco chicks the best chance of survival, keepers decided to hand-rear the pair.

For the first ten days, keepers fed the chicks moistened pelleted food.  Gradually, the chicks were introduced to greens and steamed broccoli, then bits of banana, mango, figs, and blueberries.

Turacos are altricial, meaning the young cannot move or feed themselves after hatching and require care from their parents (or zoo keepers).  The chicks start out with sparse downy feathers, which are replaced by smooth feathers when the chick fledge (leave the nest).

Great Blue Turacos are native to western and central Africa and are the largest of all Turaco species.  These birds are not considered under threat by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the chick below.

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