On November 2, a fluffy Tawny Frogmouth chick hatched at St. Louis Zoo! This strange and wonderful bird has grown a lot over the course of its first month, and is doing well under the care of keepers and its parents.
Says Matt Schamberger, keeper of birds at the zoo, "Our goal is to always have the parents rear their own birds, but this pair is a pair of first-time parents and often times the learning curve is pretty steep, so we try to help out the parents if we can."
The Saint Louis Zoo received the chick's parents as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this species. An SSP coordinates breeding and conservation of a species between AZA accredited zoos, with the goal of maintaining healthy genetic diversity.
"The tawny frogmouth population in the United States is about 125 birds in zoos around the United States," Michael Macek, curator of birds explains. "And what we're trying to do is maintain genetic diversity in the population."
Watch the chick develop over the course of a month:
See and learn more after the fold!
Tawny Frogmouths are nocturnal birds native to Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea. They are named for their large mouths, which look frog-like when opened up wide. While they might look like owls, these bird's aren't raptors like owls, hawks and eagles. They sit quietly during the day, camouflaged on tree stumps, and at night feed on insects, frogs, and small rodents. The International Union for Conservation of Species lists them as a species of Least Concern, as their wild populations currently seem to be stable.