Paradise Park

Turaco Chick Comes Out Of Its Shell

Great Blue Touraco Chick at Paradise Park CornwallWhat 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.

Great Blue Touraco Chick feeding at Paradise Park Cornwall
Keeper Becky Waite with Great Blue Touraco Chick Paradise Park
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.

See more photos of the chick below.

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Humboldt Penguin Chicks Stick Together at Paradise Park

Penguin Chicks at Paradise Park Hayle Cornwall

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.”

Penguin Chicks at Paradise Park Hayle Cornwall 2

Penguin Chick and Keeper at Paradise Park HAyle Cornwall

Young Penguin chicks at Paradise Park CornwallPhoto 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.

Young Penguin chick at Paradise Park Cornwall