Friday, September 6, 2013

Flamingo chicks add to the baby boom

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


There’s been a break in the sea of pink over at the flamingo exhibit. In the past week, we've had six tiny, white puffs in the form of flamingo chicks hatch out on exhibit. Generally, we let the chicks stay on the nest for the first five days, where they are well looked after by their parents. But once they become a bit more mobile and are ready to head out of the nest, we bring the chicks and their parents behind the scenes where they can get through the first few weeks of rearing together in a more protected environment.

Newly hatched chick in nest. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Ideally the flamingo parents will feed and raise the chicks on their own. Some are first time parents and others are experienced. Zookeepers watch over the young families very closely, and are ready to step in to incubate eggs or rear chicks if it looks like any of the families are in need of a little help.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

So far, all of the parents are doing a good job. The first week or two are the most critical to make sure the chicks are properly feeding and parents are being attentive. We expect the young families to return back on exhibit in the next few weeks once the chicks are old enough and coordinated enough to be safe, and that’s when you’ll be able to see the new additions.

An older flamingo shows off those tall legs and curved beak so characteristic of the bird. Photo by Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo.

We tend to picture flamingos in huge colonies engulfing their wetlands home. With the Chilean flamingo now at near threatened status in their native South America, we need to ensure that those numbers don’t dwindle. Keeping the wetlands pink is about more than just saving flamingos—protecting this umbrella species leads to the preservation of countless diverse species that also call the wetlands home.

ARKive video - Chilean flamingo - overview

Woodland Park Zoo’s Wildlife Survival Fund supports The Grupo Conservacion Flamencos Altoandinos, a conservation project dedicated to studying and protecting South America’s flamingos. Your visits to the zoo help make our support of such programs possible. You’re helping us make a pinker world—thank you!

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