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.
The first Lear’s Macaw to hatch in captivity in Latin America popped out of its egg on April 13 at Brazil’s São Paulo Zoo. These photos show the chick’s growth from hatching to age three months.
Photo Credit: Sao Paulo Zoo
This was not the first egg for parents Francisco and Maria Clara. They had laid some eggs in the past, but they were not successfully incubated and the eggs were broken. This time, zoo keepers moved the egg to an incubator, where temperature and humidity could be carefully controlled. When the little macaw hatched, it weighed only 22 grams and was fed by zoo keepers every two hours around the clock. As you can see in the photos, the little chick grew rapidly and its feathers came in.
Zoo staff named the chick Teobaldo, or Téo for short, after a popular character in Brazilian folk literature.
At three months old, Téo weighed 750g and still received liquid food twice a day. Téo also nibbles on seeds and fruit and recently learned to fly short distances.
For more than 150 years, Lear’s macaws were known only from the pet trade until a wild population was found in eastern Brazil in 1978. Today, about 1,100 Lear’s Macaws are known to live in only two locations in the wild. Though their numbers are increasing thanks to intensive conservation efforts, these parrots are still listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to their restricted range and illegal hunting for food and wildlife products.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden holds the largest collection of Kea (Nestor notabilis) in North America. The facility is home to 19 of the 45 total birds in Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. Locally, nationally, and internationally, Cincinnati Zoo staff has worked to improve captive Kea husbandry standards and reproductive success. They also aim to increase public awareness of Kea reproduction research.
Photo Credits: Cincinnati Zoo/ Cassandre Crawford
The Cincinnati Zoo’s determination and hard work was rewarded, recently, when it was announced that the facility had received the Plume Award for Noteworthy Achievement in Avian Husbandry, from the Avian Scientific Advisory Group.
The award recognizes excellence in a single facet of husbandry, such as: first-time breeding, reintroduction programs, breeding consortiums, reproduction of a difficult species or taking a leading role in population sustainability. Robert Webster, the Zoo’s Curator of Birds, and the Cincinnati Zoo Bird Department (Kimberly Klosterman, Jennifer Gainer, Cody Sowers, Dan Burns, Aimee Owen, Rickey Kinley, Steve Malowski and Jackie Bray) have worked tirelessly to achieve breeding success with a species known to have reproductive challenges. The Cincinnati Zoo’s Kea program consists of a breeding flock, an interactive exhibit and a partnership with Kea Conservation Trust in New Zealand.
The bird staff credits flocking and free mate choice as key contributors to the success of its breeding program, as well as assistance from many other Zoo departments and devoted volunteers. “Best of all, we are able to share the insights we are learning with captive Kea-holders throughout the world and with the conservationists whose work we support in the birds’ native New Zealand,” said Webster.
During the last three years, the Cincinnati Zoo has successfully hatched 13 chicks, more than any other zoo in North America. 2014 was especially bountiful, with the fledging of six chicks. During the summer, the Kea flock shares the exhibit with several other avian species, including Nicobar Pigeons, Pied Imperial Pigeons, Magpie Geese, and Cape Barren Geese. Most recently the Aviculture department formed a partnership with the Zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) to start a foundation in Kea reproduction research.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Cincinnati Zoo’s success with breeding Kea this year! This flock includes a number of genetically important birds and the population has been struggling with breeding in recent years, so these chicks represent a great move in the right direction. Cincinnati’s unique way of housing and managing Kea in a large flock has proven to be a great combination of guest experience and breeding opportunity for this species,” said Jessica Meehan, AZA Kea SSP Coordinator.
“The international community has great interest in Kea because of their unique ecology, amazing intelligence, and charismatic personalities. There is no other avian species on Earth quite like them,” said Webster. “The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden recognizes that Kea are a wildlife gem and that their loss would be tragic. We have attempted to do everything in our power to ensure that Kea are around for future generations.”
It’s been three years since a European zoo successfully hatched a Pam Cockatoo chick, but the Czech Republic’s Prague Zoo achieved this rare feat for the first time this fall. A single chick hatched, weighing only 20 grams (less than 1 ounce). When fully frown, this ungainly chick will be covered in glossy black feathers with bright red cheek patches and a large black crest.
Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha Prague Zoo first began caring for this species in 2008, when they took possession of several Palm Cockatoos confiscated from smugglers.
Palm Cockatoos are native to the northernmost tip of Australia and the island of New Guinea, where they inhabit forested areas. Their powerful bill enables them to crack hard nuts and seeds, such as those found on palm trees. Palm Cockatoos are not considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of nature, but trade of these birds is restricted under Appendix I of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Just four days ago, a Scarlet-cheeked Fig Parrot, also known as an Edwards' Fig Parrot, hatched at the Prague Zoo. Although they are rare to find in captivity and births are even rarer, these colorful parrots are doing well in the wild and are listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.
The Scarlet-cheeked Fig Parrot is native to a restricted range in northeastern New Guinea where they are commonly found. They are medium sized birds when full grown measuring around seven inches in height. They are predominately green with colorful plumage around their neck and chest. As their name would suggest, these parrots feed primarily on figs as well as other fruits found in their range.
Perth Zoo's Birds of the South-west Aviary is home to Australia native birds including Elegant Parrots, Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Bush Stone-curlews, Splendid Fairy-wrens, Black-winged Stilts, Brush Bronzewings, Red-eared Firetails and Crimson Chats. The first four images are of two Elegant Parrot chicks hatched October 5th and the last three (beneath the fold) are of a Purple-crowned Lorikeet chick hatched October 2nd.