Fourteen fluffy flamingo chicks hatch at Chester Zoo
The first fluffy hatchlings of the year have been welcomed to the flock (or more correctly ‘flamboyance’) of flamingos at Chester Zoo.
Fourteen chicks have emerged so far - the first breaking out of its shell on 29 June. With a number of eggs still on the nest, keepers are now eagerly awaiting several more hatchlings in the coming weeks.
Flamingo chicks start out life white or grey in colour and look like tiny balls of cotton wool. But they soon develop their iconic pink feathers, which start to appear at around six months old. Of the world’s five species of flamingo, it is the Caribbean birds that are known to have the brightest and pinkest plumage of all.
Chester Zoo is home to more than 100 flamingos in its Caribbean flock and over 100 flamingos in its Chilean colony.
- Scientific name: Phoenicopterus ruber
- Caribbean flamingos are the largest of all five flamingo species
- Flamingos get their pink colouring from crustaceans and algae that they eat
- The word flamingo comes from the Spanish and Latin word ‘flamenco’ which means ‘fire’
- They are highly social birds and they live in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals.
In the wild, continued monitoring of Chilean flamingo numbers is vital as they have long been a target of poachers who pinch their eggs. This, along with a loss of habitat as developers and farmers move into areas where they live, has put the flamboyant species under increasing threat