First Flamingo Hatchlings of Season at Edinburgh Zoo

1_16_9_5_Flamingo chick_3_Maria_Dorrian

Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are delighted to welcome their first fluffy Flamingo hatchlings of 2016.

Two Chilean Flamingo chicks have recently hatched, with the first peaking its beak out of its shell on August 31 and the other following a few days later, on September 5. There are still a number of eggs on the nests, so more chicks are expected to start hatching in the next couple of weeks and join the Zoo’s Flamingo flock (also known as a “flamboyance”).

Some visitors have even been lucky enough to witness the tiny grey chicks slowly hatching out of their shells. Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) member, Margaret Mollon, managed to capture the hatching of a chick in a series of stunning photographs (seen in the YouTube video link below).

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4_16_9_5_Flamingo chick_2_Mike_gilburtPhoto Credits: RZSS Edinburgh Zoo & (Images 1,3,5: Maria Dorrian/ Images 2,4: Mike Gilburt) Video Credit: Margaret Mollon


Colin Oulton, Bird Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are delighted to have flamingo chicks at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo again, as the last time we had bred the species was in 2014. Chilean Flamingos are listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List, so these chicks will play an important role as ambassadors, in the conservation of this beautiful, yet increasingly threatened, water bird. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has been home to Chilean Flamingos for more than 40 years, so it is wonderful to see this well-established flock grow.”

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Twenty-three Fluffy Flamingos Emerge at Chester Zoo

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Twenty-three adorable Flamingo chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo. The eleven Chilean and twelve Caribbean Flamingos started to hatch on June 9, with the last of new arrivals emerging from its egg on July 5.

Each chick hatched to a different female, as Flamingos are monogamous birds and only lay a single egg each year.

Mark Vercoe, Assistant Team Manager of the bird team at Chester Zoo said, “It’s been a really successful breeding season for the Flamingos and we’re delighted with all of the new chicks. They look like fluffy cotton wool balls with little wobbly jelly legs at the moment and it’ll be several months until their pink feathers start to show.

“For a few days after hatching the youngsters tend to stay really close to their parents but they soon grow in confidence and some have already started to wade in the water around their island independently.”

2_Chester Zoo is tickled pink by new flamingo chicks  (4)

3_Chester Zoo is tickled pink by new flamingo chicks  (7)

4_Chester Zoo is tickled pink by new flamingo chicks  (8)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo


The Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) is a large species at 110–130 cm (43–51 in). It is closely related to the American Flamingo (Caribbean) and Greater Flamingo, with which it was sometimes considered conspecific. The species is listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN.

It is native to South America, from Ecuador and Peru, to Chile and Argentina, and east to Brazil. Like all Flamingos, it lays a single chalky white egg on a mud mound.

The Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large species that was formerly considered conspecific with the Greater Flamingo, but that treatment is now widely viewed as incorrect due to a lack of evidence. It is also known as the American Flamingo. In Cuba, it is also known as the Greater Flamingo. It is the only Flamingo that naturally inhabits North America.

The Caribbean species is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

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Hellabrunn Zoo Is Hatching a Plan for Flamingos

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A Flamingo chick pecking its way out of an egg was an almost daily occurrence for several weeks at Hellabrunn Zoo.

Warmed and well protected, the chicks at Hellabrunn Zoo began hatching on May 9th. Currently, seven chicks have been seen under their parents, and about a dozen chicks are still waiting to hatch from their eggs.

Zoo director, Rasem Baban, is delighted with the new births, "A total of seven chicks have been hatched. The Flamingos incubate about 20 eggs, in nest mounds made from mud. Once the sun comes out and the temperatures rise, the colorful offspring become independent and strike out on their own."

The Flamingo group at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich currently contains over 130 birds of the species’ American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) and Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus).



4_13248548_1178689685498638_2938850905119961602_oPhoto Credits: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller (Images 2-4); Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marisa Segadelli-MGsee (Images 1,5-10)

Flamingos are among the oldest groups of birds. It is said they have existed on earth in their present form for about 30 million years.

Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other leg tucked beneath the body. The reason for this behavior is not fully understood. Research indicates that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water. However, the behavior also takes place in warm water. As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom.

Young Flamingos hatch with greyish reddish plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta-Carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly colored and thus a more desirable mate; a white or pale flamingo, however, is usually unhealthy or malnourished. Captive flamingos are a notable exception; many turn a pale pink, as they are not fed carotene at levels comparable to the wild.

The American Flamingo breeds in the Galápagos, coastal Colombia, Venezuela, and nearby islands, Trinidad and Tobago, along the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cuba, Hispaniola, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The American Flamingo was once also found in southern Florida, but since the arrival of Europeans, it has been all but eradicated there. Sightings today are usually considered to be escapees. From a distance, untrained eyes can also confuse it with the Roseate Spoonbill.

The Greater Flamingo is the largest and most widespread species of the Flamingo family. It is native to Africa, Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and southern Europe.

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Cotswold Wildlife Park Is ‘Tickled Pink’ With New Chicks

1_B. Mambo & Ringo posing

It’s been over eight years since the Chilean Flamingos colony, at Cotswold Wildlife Park, last produced eggs. Despite plenty of displaying, nest-building and mating, keepers have been patiently waiting for the flock of forty-four adults to produce eggs. Despite their valiant efforts, no chicks appeared.

The decision was made to add new chicks to the flock in the hope this would stimulate the existing adults into laying their own eggs again and increase the flock’s size. In the wild, Flamingos nest in large groups. These crowded conditions are ideal for Flamingo breeding as it gives the flock a sense of stability, which, in turn, profoundly increases their chances of successfully producing eggs.

Flamingo eggs were donated by Chester Zoo as part of the European Breeding Programme (EEP) and were immediately taken to the Park’s incubation rooms. The chalky white eggs hatched after roughly twenty-six days. Keepers named the new chicks Mambo and Ringo and tended to them around-the-clock.

3_One of the Flamingo eggs (either Mambo or Ringo)

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4_Fluffy white chick Ringo being weighed (2)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park /"Flamingos In Snow" by Louise Peat



 By a strange coincidence, while the donated eggs were still in incubation, much to the surprise of keepers, the adults had made nests and were sitting on their own eggs for the first time in eight breeding seasons. Three chicks eventually hatched. In the meantime, Mambo and Ringo continued to be hand-reared by the dedicated team, undergoing health checks, growth monitoring and regular exercise, including daily walks to strengthen their delicate legs. Eventually, the task of gradually introducing the new chicks to the adult group began.

Assistant Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Chris Kibbey, commented: "Not only is it great news that the Bird Section have successfully hand-reared their first ever Flamingo chicks, but to discover our Flamingos group had laid their first eggs in eight years was a wonderful and unexpected surprise. It’s been a long wait, and we are delighted that our Flamingo flock have finally started breeding again.”

Mambo and Ringo have now successfully been introduced to the flock in their new lakeside home, a brilliant end to several barren years on the Flamingo Lake. Hopefully, next year the Flamingos will successfully breed again without a helping hand from keepers.

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Akron Zoo's First Flamingo Chick

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A Chilean Flamingo chick that hatched on August 20 is the first of its species to hatch at Ohio’s Akron Zoo.

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Forty-eight days oldPhoto Credit:  Akron Zoo

The Flamingo egg was laid in the zoo’s exhibit on July 25.  Keepers collected the egg and placed it in an artificial incubator to increase its chances of successfully hatching. After 26 days, the chick began to hatch, but it took 36 hours for the chick to fully emerge from the egg.

About 24 hours after the Flamingo chick hatched, zoo staff began to hand feed the chick an egg-based formula several times a day.

Eggshell membranes were sent for DNA gender testing, which revealed that the chick is a female. With a current weight of about two pounds, the chick is being raised behind the scenes until she is large enough to join the flock in the exhibit.   The photos show the chick at two days old (top) and 48 days old.

Chilean Flamingos are native to South America, where they inhabit shallow lakes and feed on blue-green algae and brine shrimp by straining water through comb-like structures in their beaks. Flamingo chicks are covered in gray down at hatching, but as adults they sport pink plumage.  The pink color comes from the high levels of beta-carotene in their food.   Chilean Flamingos are plentiful in the wild and not under threat.

First Chilean Flamingo Hatchling for Lincoln Park Zoo

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Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, is thrilled to announce its first-ever Chilean Flamingo hatchling.

The flamingo chick emerged on September 11, and the zoo is cautiously optimistic that several remaining incubating eggs may hatch within the coming weeks.

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4_Lincoln Park flamingo_9Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

“We are absolutely elated to welcome our first Chilean Flamingo chick,” said Curator of Birds Sunny Nelson. “As a first hatching for Lincoln Park Zoo and for the flock, the chick is currently raised behind-the-scenes and will be re-introduced to the flock once the chick is more independent.”

The sex of the first-born chick has yet to be determined but shell fragments have been collected and will be sent for DNA testing as a non-invasive method of determining the sex. While a Chilean Flamingo can weigh up to 3.5 kg, the chick was 95 g at hatch--roughly the weight of a bar of soap.

The zoo received breeding recommendations, for its flock, as part of the Chilean Flamingo Species Survival Plan, which cooperatively manages the accredited population.  

Currently, the flamingo chick remains behind-the-scenes, receiving around-the-clock care. In the meantime, the flock of adult Chilean Flamingos is on exhibit daily at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon.

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Zoo Vienna Has Tons of Pink Flamingo Chicks!

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Ok, not literally tons. But Zoo Vienna in Austria is thrilled about the number of this year's Pink Flamingo chicks: 19 chicks have hatched, and still more eggs are being incubated by parents. 

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Flamingo 3Photo credits: Daniel Zupanc / Zoo Vienna

The first chicks of the year were hatched on June 7. The rearing of chicks at different ages is fascinating to watch. 

“The youngest birds are still in the nest under the wings of their parents, who alternatively keep the chicks warm and feed them with a high-energy liquid from their crop. The bigger birds have already left the nest and are being looked after in a group, similar to a kindergarten,” Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter explains. 

“The baby flamingos are grey. In the wild, this unobtrusive plumage protects the little ones better from predators, but in three years’ time their feathers will be just as pink as their parents'."

In their natural habitat the birds get their pink and orange coloring from carotenoid pigments found in algae and crustaceans which they filter out of the water using their beaks. In captivity, Flamingos are fed food that is high in these pigments, otherwise their feathers would be a very pale pink.

Pink or Greater Flamingos have a very large distribution area: they are found from West Africa through the Mediterranean, Europe, South West and South Asia, and in sub-Saharan Africa. There is estimated to be a population of about 20,000 breeding pairs in Europe, the majority living in the Camargue region in France. Zoo Vienna has been very successfully breeding these birds for many years.

Cincinnati Zoo Shares Photos of New Flamingo Hatchlings


Greater Flamingo chicks are starting to hatch at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.  The eggs nestled safely in the mud mounds are one-by-one beginning to reveal their contents, and the Zoo is excited to share pics of the first few fluffy hatchlings.



4_11295648_10153281045410479_8272391589082796505_nPhoto Credits: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Greater Flamingo is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is native to parts of Africa, southern Asia (Bangladesh and coastal regions of Pakistan and India), Israel, and southern Europe.

The Greater Flamingo is the largest species of flamingo and averages 43 to 60 inches tall and a weight of 4.4 to 8.8 lbs.

The bird prefers to reside in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. The Greater Flamingo feeds with the head down. Their upper jaw is movable and not fixed to the skull. Using their feet, they stir up mud, then suck water through their bill and filter out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks.

When nesting, they lay a single egg on a mound of mud. Most of their plumage is pink and white, but the wing coverts are red, with black along primary and secondary flight feathers. Their bill is pink with a black tip, and their legs are entirely pink. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish-grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into adult life. The bird’s coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds.

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"Thunderbirds" Thriving After Stormy Start

Zoo keepers at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park have nicknamed five Chilean Flamingo chicks “Thunderbirds” after the eggs were abandoned by their parents during a thunderstorm.

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Photo Credit:  Longleat Safari & Adventure Park

A violent thunderstorm apparently caused the parents to flee the nest and take shelter.  When the adult Flamingoes did not return to the nest, zoo keepers at the United Kingdom zoo collected the eggs from the nests and placed them in an incubator, where they hatched.  Now about a month old, the five chicks are fed by syringe five times per day.

Adult flamingos build a volcano-shaped nest and lay a single egg, which they then usually sit on for around a month.  “It’s extremely unusual for all the parents to abandon their eggs at the same time, however the storm was particularly severe and the adults decided to head for cover – leaving us to look after the eggs,” said Longleat’s Mark Tye.

All Flamingo chicks are born with white plumage, which they keep for around three years.  The bright red pigment in Flamingoes’ feathers is derived from pigments in the small crustaceans and other microscopic plants that the birds eat.  In zoos, special pigments are added to the Flamingoes’ diet to maintain their brilliant hues.

Chilean Flamingoes are native to lakes high in the Andes Mountains of South America and can easily withstand cold temperatures.

A Dozen Fluffy Flamingo Chicks for SeaWorld San Diego


Twelve Caribbean Flamingo chicks have hatched at SeaWorld San Diego in the past three weeks!  The chicks are being hand-raised by aviculturists in SeaWorld’s Avian Center.



Photo Credit:  SeaWorld San Diego

Flamingos lay a single egg on a muddy mound, and both parents care for the chick for up to six years, when the young reach maturity.  Though adult Flamingos are pink, the chicks have downy white feathers.  The birds’ pink coloration comes from pigments in the aquatic organisms that they eat. 

Caribbean Flamingos are also known as American Flamingos.  They are native to some Caribbean Islands, coastal Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia, as well as the Galapagos Islands.