The first of the chicks began to break out of its shell on 25 June with 20 more arriving since, increasing the total number of Caribbean flamingos currently at the zoo 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 around another five weeks. 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. This time around we’ve decided to give them a helping hand as it’s important that we give the new flock the best possible start.
For the time being the chicks are white or grey in colour, resembling little balls of cotton wool, but they will each develop their iconic pink feathers at around six months old.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.
- The word ‘flamingo’ comes from the Spanish and Latin word ‘flamenco’ which means fire, and refers to the bright colour of the birds’ feathers
- Flamingos get their pink colouring from crustaceans and algae that they eat
- They are highly social birds and they live in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals
- Caribbean flamingos are the largest of all five flamingo species