Two Fluffy Flamingo Chicks Hand Raised in Johannesburg


Every spring in South Africa, Johannesburg Zoo’s flock of flamingos gets busy with preparations for their new chicks. Flamingos start laying eggs around September & October, after carefully building raised nests from mud in their enclosure. Weeks before breeding season starts keepers provide clay-like substrate to the enclosure for the birds to build with. Initially the clay is kept wet once a week to ensure nest stay moist and keep their shape.

Unfortunately, the hen sometimes makes the mistake of laying an egg on the grass or the egg may roll off the nest. For those eggs abandoned by the parents’ zookeepers collect and incubate them for 28 to 30 days in the hope that the chicks will hatch and survive. This is no easy task as the eggs need very specific conditions of 99.5 degrees (37.5 degrees celcius) and 75% humidity to grow.

The first egg laid this season unfortunately rolled off of the nest and was collected by birdkeeper, Elaine Bratt. It was incubated from September 22, and to Elaine’s delight a little chick hatched on October 20! Named Nu, it is the first official flamingo chick of 2011 and is being cared for around the clock, just as its parents would do. Nu was joined by Kuba on November 8. The two live in the zoo’s bird rearing facility called “The Brooder Room”. Each has its own room with a heat lamp to keep the temperature constant. The chicks are fed every 2 to 3 hours a special diet of sardines, shrimp, boiled egg, maize meal, calcium and multi-vitamins.



With adults

Photo Credits: Photos 1-2 Lorna Fuller, Photos 3-4 Candice Segal/Joburg Zoo

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Paignton Zoo Hand Rears Chilean Flamingo Chick

Chick 5

A Chilean Flamingo chick is being hand-reared by zoo keepers after the egg was abandoned by its parents. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is known for its flock of some 50 Chilean Flamingos that live by the entrance to the Devon zoo. 

Senior head bird keeper Peter Smallbones said, “The chick hatched on July 21, 2011. It is being kept warm in a brooder and fed every 3 hours. We lose eggs to seagulls and to clumsy-footed adult birds, so we take in abandoned eggs to make sure we have some youngsters.” In addition, there are currently two chicks with the flamingo flock on the island. 

Staff are using a syringe to feed the chick on a mixture of children’s porridge and fish. The Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) comes from Chile but is also found in southern Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and southern Brazil, and can be found in brackish or saltwater lakes and lagoons. This large bird is classed as Near Threatened.

Chick 2

Chick 6

Chick 7
Photo Credit: Paignton Zoo

Sleight of Hand Helps Flamingo Moms Rest


On July 13, three Flamingo chicks went on exhibit at Columbus Zoo. In recent years, the zoo has been increasingly successful in breeding Flamingos. Keepers have found that hand rearing chicks makes these typicaly easily spooked birds more manageable in their adulthood. Columbus Zoo lightens the load for Flamingo moms by positioning a wooden decoy egg in the nest after removing the real eggs for incubation. This ensures that the females won't continue to lay, since egg laying is a taxing operation.



Photo credits: COurtesy of H. Misner and Columbus Zoo

Unlike adult Flamingos, chicks hatch covered in a fluffy white down which will remain white or grey during the first two years of their lives. The Flamingo's trade mark pink plummage appears in the second or third year. This trio will be on display for an hour each day (from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.) with the other 32 flamingos in the Zoo's flock. The rest of the time they'll be behind the scenes eating a special formula and getting plenty of sleep.

Fluffy Flamingo Chicks at Woodland Park Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos have hatched at Woodland Park Zoo, marking the second successful breeding season for the species. The first chick hatched on Oct. 3, followed by the second hatching on Oct. 9. Both chicks are under the care of their parents in the flamingo exhibit near the Temperate Forest. Both parents care for their chick, feeding them “crop milk,” which is nutritionally similar to milk that is produced by mammals. The chicks leave their nest about three to five days after hatching but remain in close proximity to their parents for feedings and brooding.

Chilean flamingo chick woodland park zoo 1

Chilean flamingo chick woodland park zoo 1

Chilean flamingo chick woodland park zoo 1

Photo credits: Dennis Dow / Woodland Park Zoo

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Fluffy Flamingo Chicks at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Seven baby Caribbean Flamingos were hatched at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay between June 3rd and July 25th. The chicks are on display along with approximately 125 adult flamingos in the Bird Gardens area of the park. Newly hatched chicks are not pink, but in fact have gray or white down feathers. Their pink coloring comes from the carotenoid pigments they consume as part of their diet. They won’t lose all of their darker feathers for a few years. Flamingos have long resided at Busch Gardens. Their bright color and gentle nature have made them a favorite of park guests for many years.



Baby-flamingo-soloPhoto credits: Nick Gollattscheck / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Baby Bird Boom in Singapore's Jurong Bird Park

Bird lovers have something to rejoice over as Jurong Bird Park welcomed six chicks hatched over the last few months. The chicks are of six different species, four featured below, namely the Crown Pigeon, Golden Conure, Greater Flamingo and Malay Fish Owl.

Crown Pigeon (4 Months)

Golden Cunure (2 Months)

Greater Flamingo (2.5 Months)

Malay Fish Owl (1 Month)

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