Bird

Penguin Chicks Add to Conservation Success at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Penguin chick Lima hatched May 4 2019Photo credit: Maria Simmons

Two Humboldt Penguin chicks hatched at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on May 1 and May 4. The chicks made their public debut in early June.

The chicks are both males and are named Peru and Lima (“Lee-ma”) in honor of their native habitat off the coast of Peru.

Penguin chick Peru by Maria S
Penguin chick Peru by Maria S
Penguin chick Peru by Maria S
Penguin chick Peru by Maria SPhoto Credit: Maria Simmons

Both chicks are the offspring of Penguin parents Frederico and Poquita. Foster parents Venti and Isa are helping to raise the older chick, Peru, to give both chicks a strong start. The adults will feed the chicks until they are big enough to take fish directly from keepers. Penguins at the zoo are hand-fed twice a day so animal care staff can keep records of how much food each bird consumes.

Weighing only a few ounces at hatching, the chicks have grown rapidly. Each now weighs well over five pounds.

The new chicks bring the number of birds in the zoo’s Humboldt Penguin colony to 34. They will remain off exhibit with their parents until their waterproof feathers come in, then they will practice their swimming skills in the small indoor pool before joining the rest of the colony later this year.

Zoo Director Ted Fox said the new chicks were bred as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Humboldt Penguins overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. More than 55 Penguin chicks have hatched at the zoo since it joined the SSP in 2005, and many have gone to other AZA institutions to help preserve the species.

Humboldt Penguins are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In historic times, their nesting grounds were destroyed by guano mining, where deposits of their excrement were dug up and sold as fertilizer. In recent decades, changes in ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and overfishing in the Penguins' hunting waters have pushed populations even lower. Today, about 32,000 mature individuals are estimated to live on the coasts of Peru and Chile.


Meet Flash The Gentoo Penguin Chick

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The pitter patter of tiny flippers is being heard at the National Sea Life Centre in the United Kingdom as the staff celebrates the hatching of a Gentoo Penguin.

The chick was named Flash due to its speedy arrival just 12 hours after it began ‘pipping’ – the term used to describe how baby birds peck their way out of their eggs.

62065444_2373944079308836_3688876109782319104_oPhoto Credit: National Sea Life Centre

The hatching is extra special because the parents traveled thousands of miles by airplane to pair up under a global breeding program.

Parents Prince, age one, and four-year-old Hyacinth are providing excellent care for Flash. The chick’s gender is not yet known.

Prince was unlucky in love during last year’s mating season, so the staff was happy to see Prince find a partner in Hyacinth.

Gentoo Penguins are difficult to breed in zoos, because they are particularly sensitive to their surroundings. The staff at the National Sea Life Centre worked hard to get every detail just right within the birds’ habitat.

In the wild, Gentoo Penguins nest on ice-free areas of Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands. Some populations of Gentoo Penguins have declined rapidly in recent years suggesting that the birds could experience a larger decline from habitat loss, pollution, and illegal collection of their eggs.

See more photos of Flash below.

Continue reading "Meet Flash The Gentoo Penguin Chick" »


Cape Thick-Knee Hatches at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

1_Cape Thick-Knee chick at Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium hatched a Cape Thick-knee Chick on March 14. The chick, which is the first since 2015, can be seen in the Desert Dome with its parents.

Although the species is free ranging, they spend most of their time in the Australian section of the zoo’s Desert Dome. This is the first chick for the adult pair who arrived at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in 2017.

2_Cape Thick-Knee chick with parents at Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium

3_Cape Thick-Knee chick with parent at Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium

4_Cape Thick-Knee chick at Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium 2Photo Credits: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Cape Thick-knee breeding pairs typically raise one to two chicks at a time. They are very protective parents who will go to great lengths to protect their young. The birds will sometimes perform dramatic “injury displays” to lure predators away from their nest. Both parents take an active role in feeding their chicks.

The Cape Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis) is native to southwestern and southern Africa within savannas, dry grasslands and thorn scrub areas. The species primarily feed on insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, but will also eat small mammals and lizards.


National Aviary Aids Thousands of Abandoned Flamingo Chicks

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Staff from the National Aviary traveled to South Africa to assist with the rescue of nearly 2,000 Lesser Flamingo chicks that were abandoned due to severe drought. 

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27473FF0-5F69-432F-8F8E-C49CB58942F3
EFAEF0A6-5750-411E-AC28-97FCA5ACF575 Photo Credit: National Aviary

In response to an international call for expert volunteers to aid in the care of 1800 Lesser Flamingo chicks abandoned by their parents due to drought conditions near their nesting site, the National Aviary has sent avian specialist Teri Grendzinski to the SANCCOB rescue center in South Africa. 

A lack of water resulting from low rainfall, high temperatures and failing infrastructure at the Kamfers Dam in Kimberly, in the Northern Cape, led adult Flamingos to abandon their hatchlings.  The chicks were airlifted to rescue and rehabilitation centers in South Africa.

Ms. Grendzinski, who has more than 25 years of experience and has helped hand-raise multiple Flamingo chicks through the years, is on site in South Africa, where she is lending her expertise and providing hands-on assistance.  

Volunteers are working round the clock to prepare food, and hand-feed, bathe and clean the chicks, as well to provide exercise opportunities for the older chicks. As these chicks are destined for release if all goes well, care protocols are being created to prevent the birds from imprinting with their caregivers, and to foster other natural behaviors. Ms. Grendzinski has been reporting in daily with a detailed account of her work there and providing insight into the long-term challenges ahead as the chicks grow, mature and fledge. 

Lesser Flamingos are the smallest Flamingo species and are native to sub-Saharan Africa.  They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the low number of breeding sites. Most of the breeding sites are threatened by human activities.  

 

 


Rare Baby Macaw, Venomous Snakes Arrive at LA Zoo

Blue Throated Macaw Chick 1-9-19 By Tad Motoyama _5459

The Los Angeles Zoo is celebrating the arrival of two tropical Snake species and a Blue-throated Macaw, one of the rarest birds in the world.

Lachesis clutch 2019
Lachesis clutch 2019Photo Credits: Tad Motoyama (1,3,4,5); Ian Recchio (2,6)

Eight Bushmasters, which are venomous Pit Vipers native to Central and South America, hatched in December (second photo from top). This is the fourth clutch of this species to hatch at the Los Angeles Zoo since the first pair of Bushmasters arrived at there in 2008.  The little hatchlings will eventually grow six to 10 feet long and weigh up to 15 pounds. Bushmasters inhabit forests and though their bites can be fatal, these Snakes are rarely encountered by humans.

Unlike Bushmasters, which hatch from eggs, a Mangrove Viper gave birth to five babies on December 26 (third photo from top). In Snakes that give birth to live offspring, the eggs are held inside the body until they hatch, resulting in live birth. This is the first time Mangrove Vipers have reproduced at the zoo. Mangrove Vipers are venomous Pit Vipers that live in India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia.

Staff working behind the scenes at the Avian Conservation Center are hand-rearing a Blue-throated Macaw chick that hatched in December (top photo). Normally, the chick’s parents would care for and feed the chick, but they experienced some minor health issues that required medication and could not feed their baby. Staff took over and offer food via a syringe several times a day.

Found only in a small region of Bolivia, fewer than 250 Blue-throated Macaws live in the wild. In the past, these Macaws were heavily exploited for the pet trade. Though this practice has been greatly reduced, trapping still occurs. Today, the Macaws' biggest threat comes from clearing of suitable nesting and feeding trees. These birds are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the Macaw chick and a Bushmaster hatching from its egg below.

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‘Extinct’ birds hatch at Chester Zoo

'Extinct' birds hatch at Chester Zoo (6)

Two chicks belonging to a species that was declared extinct in the wild 47 years ago have hatched at Chester Zoo.

The Soccoro dove, which originates from Socorro Island located 400 miles off the west coast of Mexico, vanished from the wild completely in 1972.

'Extinct' birds hatch at Chester Zoo (10)

'Extinct' birds hatch at Chester Zoo (5)

The introduction of sheep that ate plants the doves depended on for food and shelter, and invasive species such as cats that preyed upon the birds, are believed to be the main factors behind their demise.

Now, there are less than 200 Socorro doves existing entirely in zoos around the world, with just 23 in the UK – including Chester Zoo’s latest arrivals.

The chicks, which hatched on 7 November and fledged 20 days later, were raised by ‘foster parents’ – a pair of barbary doves – as adult Socorro doves have a poor track record of incubating eggs and raising their own chicks.

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Chester Zoo's Top 10 Baby Animals of 2018

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have celebrated an unprecedented number of births in 2018, including some of the world’s rarest and most at-risk species.

1. Precious sun bear cub Kyra is first of her kind to be born in the UK (8)

Sun Bear

Adorable cub Kyra was the first Sun Bear to be born in the UK. Her birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and people around the globe watched Kyra’s first moments with her mom. Kyra’s parents, Milli and Toni, were both rescued from poachers in Cambodia.    

Conservationists estimate that less than 1,000 Sun Bears remain in the wild across Southeast Asia. Deforestation and commercial hunting for their body parts have decimated their numbers.

2. Baby Stevie is the arrival of the decade… for Chester’s chimpanzees  (3)

Chimpanzee

Critically endangered Western Chimpanzee Stevie was the first of her kind to be born at Chester Zoo in nearly 10 years.

Stevie’s birth followed a scientific project, spanning several years, which carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe. The study confirmed that the troop of Chimps at Chester Zoo is the highly-threatened West African subspecies – one of the rarest in the world – establishing them as a critically important breeding population. It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees now remain in the wild.

3. Elephant calf Anjan astonishes scientists after being born three months after expected due date (2)

Asian Elephant

After an unusually long pregnancy believed to have lasted 25 months, Asian Elephant Thi Hi Way gave birth to a healthy male calf, who keepers named Anjan.

A major Chester Zoo project in Assam, northern India, has successfully found ways to eliminate conflict between local communities and the nearby Asian Elephant population, offering a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.

4. Greater one-horned rhino calf Akeno gives new hope to species (2)

Greater One-horned Rhino

The momentous birth of Greater One-horned Rhino calf Akeno, born to mom Asha, was captured on CCTV cameras at the zoo.

Keepers watched as Asha delivered her calf safely onto to soft bedding after a 16-month-long gestation and 20-minute labor.

At one stage, the Greater One-horned Rhino was hunted almost to extinction and less than 200 survived in the wild. Thankfully, steps to protect the Rhinos were taken just in time and today there are around 3,500 in India and Nepal.

5. Secretive okapi calf Semuliki is a star in stripes (2)

Okapi

A rare Okapi calf named Semuliki arrived to first-time parents K’tusha and Stomp. The Okapi is found only deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its highly secretive nature contributed to it being completely unknown to science until 1901.

Despite being a national symbol and protected under Congolese law, Okapi populations declined in the wild by nearly 50% over the past two decades and the species is now listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

6. Tiny forest dragons help uncover new information about the species (4)
Bell’s Anglehead Lizards

A clutch of rare baby  Bell’s Anglehead Lizards – also known as Borneo Forest Dragons – hatched at the zoo, helping conservationists uncover more about the species’ breeding patterns, life cycle and habits.

The Lizards’ wild south Asian habitat however, is being decimated to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations – a threat which is pushing many species in the region to the very edge of existence.

7. Rare silvery gibbon adds to record baby boom at the zoo  (2)
Silvery Gibbon

The birth of a tiny Silvery Gibbon astonished visitors to the zoo who were able to admire the infant just minutes after its birth. 

Conservationists hailed the arrival of this highly endangered primate, with just 4,000 of its kind now remaining on the island of Java, Indonesia, where the species is now listed as endangered by the IUCN.

8. Fluffy flamingo chicks are pretty in pink  (2)

Flamingos

Keepers were tickled pink by the arrival of 21 Flamingo chicks. Each of the fluffy newcomers was carefully hand fed by the zoo’s bird experts four times a day for five weeks until they were developed enough to fully feed for themselves.

Flamingo chicks are white or grey in color when they first hatch, resembling little balls of cotton wool, and begin to develop their famous pink plumage at around six months old.

9. Tiny babirusa triplets arrive in zoo ‘first’ (3)

Babirusa

The first set of Babirusa triplets were born at the zoo, a huge boost to the species which has experienced a recent population crash on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Once considered fairly common, the rapid decline comes as result of hunting for their meat and habitat loss, which has seen Babirusas disappear from many parts of the island.

10. Black rhino birth a surprise to visitors  (5)

Eastern Black Rhino

The arrival of Jumaane, a rare Eastern Black Rhino calf, left a handful of lucky zoo visitors in shock as his birth took place right in front of them.

Conservationists now estimate that fewer than 650 Eastern Black Rhino remain across Africa – a staggeringly low number driven by an increase in poaching to meet demand for rhino horn, which supplies the traditional Asian medicine market.

The birth of Jumaane is another vital boost to the Europe-wide breeding program which is crucial for the conservation of this critically endangered species.


Chester Zoo Is Tickled Pink By 21 Flamingo Chicks

!Pretty in pink! Chester Zoo welcomes new flamingo chicks (8)

Beginning on June 25, a total of 21 Caribean Flamingo chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo, bringing the total number in the zoo’s flock to 120.

All 21 youngsters are being hand fed by zookeepers at regular timed intervals, four times a day, and will require such special attention for several more weeks.

Pretty in pink! Chester Zoo welcomes new flamingo chicks
Pretty in pink! Chester Zoo welcomes new flamingo chicksPhoto Credit: Chester Zoo

Mark Vercoe, Assistant Curator of Birds, said, “Hand-feeding young Flamingos is a really intricate and demanding challenge, but these chicks will form part of another important breeding colony and so we need to make sure that each and every one makes it through to adulthood." 

The young chicks are white or grey in color, resembling little cotton balls, but they will develop their iconic pink feathers at around six months old. Flamingos get their pink color from pigments in the crustaceans and algae that they eat.

Once all of the new chicks are developed enough to fully feed themselves, the group will move to another zoo to help form a brand-new colony.

Caribbean Flamingos are the largest of all Flamingo species. They are native to the Caribbean islands, northern South America, and the Galapagos Islands, and sometimes live in flocks numbering thousands of birds. They are also known as American Flamingos.

See more photos of the flamingo chicks below.

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Prodigious Pigeon Hatches at Chester Zoo

1_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (8)

The world’s largest member of the pigeon family, a Victoria Crowned Pigeon, recently hatched at Chester Zoo.

2_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (11)

3_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (6)

4_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (13)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

According to the Zoo, the newly fledged little bird is now bright blue, rocks the best mowhawk, and can be seen strutting its stuff! When fully grown, the chick will be similar in size to a turkey.

Native to Indonesia and New Guinea, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) is supposedly named after Queen Victoria who had a penchant for wearing elaborate, feathered headwear.

One of the closest living relatives of the now extinct Dodo, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon is itself declining in the wild, largely due to habitat loss as its forest home is cleared to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations. It is also a bird that is prized by hunters and popular in the illegal pet trade, due to its beautiful appearance and spectacular plumage. As a result, it is a species listed as “Vulnerable” to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  

Mark Vercoe, Assistant Curator of Birds, said, “Along with the Nicobar Pigeon and the Tooth-billed Pigeon, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon is a descendant of the Dodo – a bird that has been famously lost from the planet because of the actions of humans.”

“This is something we don’t want to see a repeat of and it’s a lesson we really should learn from. Sadly, however, many bird species, including the likes of the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, are in trouble for many of the same reasons – human activity. Hopefully this chick can help us to highlight how important it is that we act for wildlife now; we cannot possibly let these beautiful birds go the same way as their extinct cousins.”

Continue reading "Prodigious Pigeon Hatches at Chester Zoo" »


Paradise Park Hatches Their First Brazilian Tanager

1_Brazilian Tanager mum feeds chick at Paradise Park in Hayle

Keepers at Paradise Park, in the UK, are excited about their first successful breeding of the Brazilian Tanager species.

Director, Alison Hales, remarked, “Our pair arrived from Newquay Zoo last year and settled well into one of the South Aviaries. These aviaries are in full sun which the birds like, but there is also a dense, leafy shrub in there and that is where they chose to make their nest.”

“They share their aviary with a pair of Luzon Bleeding-heart Doves, which works out well as these are ground doves so the species don’t interfere with each other.”

“The adults are very attentive, and particularly love to pick out the wax worms we feed them to pass on to their chick. I’m sure this little family will continue to thrive.”

2_Brazilian Tanager chick at Paradise Park in Hayle

3_Brazilian Tanager chick at Paradise Park in Hayle 2

4_Brazilian Tanager male in full colour at Paradise Park HaylePhoto Credits: Paradisde Park

The Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius) is a species of bird in the family Thraupidae. They are native to lowland coastal forests of Brazil, and can also be found on the outskirts of cities.

Tanagers are quite territorial, living in pairs or small groups consisting of parents and their offspring. Fruit makes up a large part of their diet, along with insects. As well as a bowl of food in their hut, the keepers at Paradise Park have a ‘peg board’ at the back of the aviary where they can spike fruit for the birds to eat.

5_Brazilian Tanager male at Paradise Park in Hayle