A Palm Cockatoo chick named Herbert is being hand-reared at Paradise Park in the United Kingdom, and he is charming the zoo keepers who care for him.
Photo Credit: Paradise Park
Keepers are raising the chick because his parents, Tess and Ziggy, have produced eggs before but the eggs broke before they could hatch. When keepers noticed Tess and Ziggy squabbling over their newly-laid egg, they were concerned that the egg would be crushed. “We stepped in and took the egg to an incubator,” says keeper Leanne Gilbert.
Parrots, including Palm Cockatoos, are completely featherless upon hatching, and Herbert was no exception. Despite his tiny size and helpless state, Herbert managed to be quite demanding of his keepers, who of course meet Herbert’s every need.
Now three months old and covered in sleek black feathers, Herbert is almost ready to eat solid food. For now, he eats a mixture of blended carrot, apple, broccoli, macadamia nuts, smooth peanut butter, Macaw formula, called “Witches Brew,” from a syringe. He is already interested in nibbling carrot sticks with his sharp and powerful beak.
Herbert is the first Palm Cockatoo chick to successfully hatch at Paradise Park in more than 20 years.
Parrot chicks start small but grow rapidly, reaching near-adult size within just a few months. One way to tell adults from juveniles is by the length of the tail feathers – those of adults are longer.
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.
Photo 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.
Two 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.
Photo 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.
The cub’s keeper, Becky Waite, remarked, “This little cutie was quite a handful. The vet check went very well and I am happy to report that he’s a boy and is very healthy! He now has a microchip for lifelong identification.”
The cub, which has been named Koda (meaning 'little bear'), was born on July 10th to mum, Jai-Li, and dad, Lang Za. This is mum’s seventh cub; she has had three sets of twins in previous years, but this year she’s had just one.
Koda is now two months old, and in another month, he should achieve his full adult coloring. He will also start eating solid foods at that point, weaning at around six to eight months of age.
Director Alison Hales commented, “Paradise Park participates in the Red Panda European captive breeding programme, and this cub is a valuable addition. Swapping with other collections keeps the captive population healthy in case there might be a need for reintroductions in future years.
“One of our cubs from last year, Rusty, recently moved Krefeld Zoo in Germany to join a mate, and at the same time, we welcomed Suri who came from Port Lympne Reserve, the wildlife sanctuary in Kent.
“After a successful trial at the beginning of 2016, we plan to re-introduce Red Panda Experiences for 2017. These events raise money for the Red Panda Network, which is committed to the conservation of wild Red Pandas and their habitat, through the education and empowerment of local communities. So keep an eye on our website www.paradisepark.org.uk and Facebook/Twitter pages for more news.”
In the wild, the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting.
They live among bamboo forests and spend much of their time in trees. The Red Panda communicates with squeaks, chattering noises and chipmunk-like sounds.
Although it shares the same name, the Red Panda is not related to the Giant Panda. In fact, the Red Panda is not related to any other animals, making it unique.
Red Pandas are solitary animals, and they only really ever come together to breed. As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. They give birth to between one and four young at a time, and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.
Cubs stay with their mother until the next litter is born the following summer. Males rarely help raise their young.
About two-thirds of their food intake is made up of bamboo. Bamboo is not the most nutritious of foods, so they have to eat a lot of it to survive. As bamboo is relatively low in calories, Red Pandas tend to spend much of their time either eating or sleeping.
The species has been classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List since 2008. The global population is estimated at about 10,000 individuals, with a decreasing population trend.
One way to help is by joining the www.redpandanetwork.org to spread the word, adopting a Red Panda or sponsoring a Forest Guardian. These guardians conduct awareness-building workshops in local villages and schools, do research for the Red Panda Network and establish community-based protected areas.
Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary, in Cornwall, UK has a new Yellow-crested Cockatoo chick. Park Keeper, Leanne, was more than happy to give the chubby little bird a clean bill of health at his nest check. She reported, “The parents are very attentive, so the chick has grown well, and it’s good to see feathers appearing now.”
Paradise Park Director, Alison Hales, explained further, “Yellow-crested Cockatoos are ‘Critically Endangered’ in the wild – this species and its sub-species now only remain in small, scattered populations through the islands of Indonesia. In an ongoing project with the World Parrot Trust, a recent survey indicated that the species is in much greater peril than previously thought, so this little chick is very important and will play a key role in the breeding program. Previous youngsters have been placed on breeding loan with other bird collections and zoos; they will be available if needed for a reintroduction scheme in the future.”
Photo Credits: Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary Cornwall
The Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), also known as the ‘Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo’, is medium-sized (approximately 34 cm long) with white plumage, bluish-white bare orbital skin, grey feet, a black bill, and a retractile yellow or orange crest.
The species is found in wooded and cultivated areas of East Timor and Indonesia's islands of Sulawesi and the Lesser Sundas.
The bird's diet consists mainly of seeds, buds, fruits, nuts and herbaceous plants.
Five critically endangered Grey-breasted Conure chicks recently hatched at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, UK.
Park Director, Alison Hales, remarked, “We first received this species at Paradise Park in 2015. We were keen to co-operate in the breeding scheme for these pretty Conures, because the status of the species in the wild is ‘Critically Endangered’. Sadly, surveys show that they are declining rapidly, owing to heavy trapping and ongoing habitat loss within their range.”
“Our pair came from Chester Zoo and produced five chicks in their first season here.”
Seven eggs were produced this season, and five chicks hatched. Eggs hatch in the order they are laid, so one is several days older and larger than the youngest. At their nest check, all had full crops and are competing successfully for food. Their parents are doing a great job.
Curator David Woolcock has already been working with other bird collections and has set up two further unrelated pairs at Paradise Park. This latest brood is a valuable addition to the captive population.
Photo Credits: Paradise Park
The Grey-breasted Conure (Pyrrhura griseipectus), also known as Grey-breasted Parakeet, is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae. It is endemic to Ceará in northeastern Brazil and restricted to a few mountains, with relatively humid forest and woodland in a region otherwise dominated by arid Caatinga.
Until recently, it was considered a subspecies of the White-eared Parakeet, as Pyrrhura leucotis griseipectus. The split was based on their widely disjunct distributions, differences in measurement of bill, and subtle differences in color of crown, ear-coverts and chest.
The Grey-breasted Conure is classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It has an extremely small wild population and occupies a very small known range. The population is estimated to be less than 250 adult birds.
Paradise Park, in Cornwall, UK, released news of a first for the park: the hatching of a Purple Gallinule chick.
Director Alison Hales explains, “We have a wonderful new addition, a Purple Gallinule chick! This is the first time this species has breed at Paradise Park. It is a couple of weeks old and it has been fascinating to see how well its parents care for it. Walking with it and offering tiny bits of food, then encouraging it to snuggle under their feathers to keep warm.”
Alison continues, “These birds have remarkably large feet. They are members of the rail family, their other name being the Purple Swamphen, which gives a clue to where their long toes prove useful. They are able to walk on floating vegetation, and clamber across reeds and swamps. They also use their feet to grab young shoots and bring the food towards their beak. Their diet is mainly leaves and shoots, but they will also take snails and even eggs from the nests of other water birds.”
Photo Credits: Paradise Park
The Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) is beautifully colored and native to southern and tropical freshwater wetlands. It is essentially a tropical marshbird that is found in parts of the southern United States, particularly near the Gulf of Mexico, but some go even farther afield. The Purple Gallinule, despite appearing to be an awkward flier, regularly turns up in northern parts of the United States and into southern Canada. It has even been found numerous times in Europe and South Africa.
A tiny Ouessant Lamb was born earlier this month at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, UK.
Park Director, Nick Reynolds, commented, “We keep Ouessant Sheep in the Fun Farm here at Paradise Park. As one of the world's smallest breeds, their lambs are very tiny and very cute…hopefully visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of our new arrival.”
Photo Credits: Paradise Park
The Ouessant (or Ushant) is a breed of domestic sheep from the island of Ouessant off the coast of Brittany, France. Occasionally called the Breton Dwarf, it is one of the smallest breeds of sheep in the world. Rams are around 49 centimetres (19 in) tall at the shoulder, and the ewes about 45 centimetres (18 in).
Most Ouessant are black or dark brown in color, but white individuals do occur. The rams have relatively large horns, and ewes are polled.
The Ouessant existed exclusively on its home island until the beginning of the 20th century, and it is still a rare breed today.
The breed is primarily used for wool production. In Paris, the city government recently began using a small herd of Ouessant sheep to graze public lands.
What 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.
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.
Staff at Paradise Park, in Hayle, Cornwall, UK, are delighted to have baby Humboldt Penguin chicks.
Curator David Woolcock said, “These two wonderful little characters are proving very popular with visitors. They are now ten weeks old and have been given the Peruvian names Miski and Aurora.”
Photo Credits: Paradise Park
David continued, “They eat around 200g of fresh fish a day and are being hand-reared, as the eggs were laid outside the nesting caves and not protected from weather or disturbance.”
“Another younger chick, called Poppy, was not putting on enough weight when she was with her parents, so the decision was taken to hand-rear her as well. One other chick is being successfully reared by its parents in the nest.”
When chicks are in the nest they have fluffy grey down feathers. It takes about three months for them to leave their nests, and by this time they have developed the waterproof plumage they need for swimming. Juveniles are grey and white, only developing the distinctive black and white penguin plumage at a year old. The pattern of dark speckles, on their lower chest, is unique to each individual penguin.
Miski and Aurora are now being introduced to the Humboldt Penguin group at Paradise Park, and they are making regular appearances at the twice daily feeding times.
The Humboldt Penguin is native to South America and breeds in coastal Chile and Peru. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin, and the Galapagos Penguin. Its name is derived from the cold water current it swims in, which is named after explorer Alexander von Humboldt.
Humboldt Penguins are medium sized, growing to 22 to 28 inches (56 to 70 cm) long and a weight of 8 to 13 lbs (3.6 to 5.9 kg).
They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species. Their declining population is due to several factors: over-fishing, climate change, and ocean acidification. The Humboldt Penguin population is also losing numbers due to habitat destruction.