Flamingo

Chester Zoo Is Tickled Pink By 21 Flamingo Chicks

!Pretty in pink! Chester Zoo welcomes new flamingo chicks (8)

Beginning on June 25, a total of 21 Caribean Flamingo chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo, bringing the total number in the zoo’s flock to 120.

All 21 youngsters are being hand fed by zookeepers at regular timed intervals, four times a day, and will require such special attention for several more weeks.

Pretty in pink! Chester Zoo welcomes new flamingo chicks
Pretty in pink! Chester Zoo welcomes new flamingo chicksPhoto Credit: Chester Zoo

Mark Vercoe, Assistant Curator of Birds, said, “Hand-feeding young Flamingos is a really intricate and demanding challenge, but these chicks will form part of another important breeding colony and so we need to make sure that each and every one makes it through to adulthood." 

The young chicks are white or grey in color, resembling little cotton balls, but they will develop their iconic pink feathers at around six months old. Flamingos get their pink color from pigments in the crustaceans and algae that they eat.

Once all of the new chicks are developed enough to fully feed themselves, the group will move to another zoo to help form a brand-new colony.

Caribbean Flamingos are the largest of all Flamingo species. They are native to the Caribbean islands, northern South America, and the Galapagos Islands, and sometimes live in flocks numbering thousands of birds. They are also known as American Flamingos.

See more photos of the flamingo chicks below.

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Oklahoma City Zoo Using New Technique for Flamingos

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Caretakers at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden are developing a new technique with a Flamingo hatchling, enabling it to benefit from group socialization and parent rearing. This new partial hand-rearing method will allow the young bird to become a better mate and parent in the future. The chick, hatched July 13, has not yet been named, and the sex has not yet been determined.

During breeding season, staff closely monitors the birds’ nests and place resulting eggs in incubators. Dummy eggs are placed back in the nests to allow the birds to demonstrate their instinctual brooding behavior. Due to a multitude of natural predators (like owls and snakes) targeting Flamingo eggs and hatchlings, chicks have traditionally been completely hand-reared by caretakers for up to a year before being introduced to the flock. Partial hand rearing allows the chick to spend days with the flock under the watchful eyes of both caretakers and volunteers and nights safely inside, removed from the threat of potential predators.

“We would much rather have all of our birds be parent-reared,” said Holly Ray, assistant curator, birds. “Hand-rearing only occurs when it’s absolutely necessary for the safety and well-being of the animal. But if we can try something that will both help the animal thrive socially and physically while preserving its safety, it’s absolutely worth doing.”

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4_OKC Zoo Flamingo Chick 4 (1 of 1)Photo Credits: Oklahoma City Zoo

Uncertain if any of the Flamingos would be interested in parenting the hatchling, caretakers watched anxiously as the chick was introduced to the flock. Caretakers placed the chick on a Flamingo mound (nest) and after about 45 minutes were able to confirm that a Flamingo pair were demonstrating parental behaviors toward the chick. This Flamingo pair was not the actual parents of the bird, so staff began referring to the duo as the chick’s foster parents. Both stay close to the chick and feed him what’s known as crop milk, a reddish, pre-digested and regurgitated meal. The female Flamingo is 22 years old. The male flamingo is 56 years old and the last remaining member of the Zoo’s original flock that arrived in 1963. The AZA reports the median life expectancy for flamingos is 25.8 years.

Zoo staff conducted an inspection of the grounds and accomplished a number of “chick-proofing” measures such as filling holes, patching walls and draining one of the pools to a level low enough for the chick to wade through safely. Caretakers are confident, however, that the hatchling will soon be swimming safely alongside the other flamingos. Although caretakers report the hatchling is adorably clumsy, the chick has proven to be extremely rambunctious and active, always exploring and investigating new sights and sounds.

Three other Flamingo chicks hatched this month and are being raised in the traditional method. During the hand-rearing process, the chicks gradually transition to different enclosures with various surfaces (sandy, grassy, muddy, etc.) the Flamingos will encounter in their natural environment. The birds are kept together, not alone. The chicks are also walked twice a day to provide adequate exercise needed for weight management, leg conditioning and overall healthy development. They will be introduced to the habitat more gradually and will be part of the flock earlier than previous years’ chicks.

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‘Four-Pack’ of Cuteness at Jacksonville Zoo

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens hatched some delightful new additions last month. Two penguin chicks and two flamingo chicks are said to have waddled into the hearts of zoo staff.

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3_penguin chick 2Photo Credits: Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

The darling pair of Magellanic Penguins hatched two days apart, on June 16 and 18 respectively. Their teeny little flippers, beaks, and everything else, have enchanted everyone who has met them. Both chicks are thriving under the care of each of their proud parents, and they will go on exhibit in the Zoo’s Tuxedo Coast at about three months of age.

The Greater Flamingo chicks got a later start, but they’re quickly giving the penguins a run for their money for title of ‘cutest birds in the zoo’. The first baby hatched on June 21, followed by the second on June 27.

The younger of the two flamingos can be seen on exhibit with its parents, while the older is being hand-reared. This means lots of up-close and personal time with keepers as it grows up and into those big feet. It will continue to be looked after by the attentive keepers until it is old enough to join the rest of the flock.

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Flamingo Chick Hatches While Zoo Visitors Watch

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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.

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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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Zoo Basel Adds to Flamingo Success Story

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This year, even more pages are being added to the Flamingos’ success story at Zoo Basel. Thirty pink chicks have once again hatched in the zoo’s Flamingo enclosure.

Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) are a permanent feature in Zoo Basel, and have been since 1879! The first Flamingo chick hatched there in 1958. Since then, the zoo has successfully bred over 500 Flamingos. Zoo Basel is one of the world’s leading zoos for Flamingo breeding.

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4_rosenroter_flamingo_ZO50993Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

This year is a hugely successful one. Of the 120 adult birds at the zoo, approximately 90 participated in the breeding activities. About 30 chicks have already hatched, and there is a good chance that more will still follow.

Visitors to Zoo Basel’s spacious Flamingo enclosure will instantly notice two things about them: they are pink and have long legs. However, if you look closer, you will also notice that their bills are bent. This is an ingenious form of natural evolution that is totally unique to these birds.

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First Flamingo Hatchlings of Season at Edinburgh Zoo

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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.”

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.