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Marshbirds On the March


It is the peak of the nesting and hatching season in the Marsh Aviary at NaturZoo Rheine, the home of a large mixed colony of coastal birds like Ruffs, Redshanks, Lapwings and Avocets. NaturZoo Rheine has been renowned as an expert for breeding waders for decades. Every year at least dozens and up to more than a hundred chicks of the different species are reared and distributed to zoos worldwide. However, working with these birds is never routine and there are always challenges in husbandry.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) chicks are extremely agile from hatching on. This is evidenced in their food searching skills – their ability to filter and pick up small particles of food from the water surface. Adults care well for the chicks, guiding, defending and warming them and scooping them up into their plumage. However, most of these chicks have been reared by zookeepers to ensure balanced care as it's not guaranteed in the large colony in the aviary because of territoriality and rivalry among the birds.