5 Jul 2012

However the birds are currently black only by name and not by nature, as they’re still so young that their feathers are white.

The storks, which are found in southern Africa, central Europe and temperate Asia are being hand-reared for the very first time at the zoo.

The 28-day-old chicks are each fed 40 grams of meat, including rat and trout, every four hours between 7am and 7pm.

Keeper Amy Vercoe said:

“The stork eggs were abandoned by their parents and so we stepped in to take care of them.

“We’re the only place in Britain to be breeding the species and so it’s really important that we get as many chicks through to adulthood as we possibly can, to boost both our population here and subsequently, the European breeding group.

“However, black storks are extremely shy and wary and they’re seldom hand-reared, so it is quite a challenge.

“But these two are now looking really strong and healthy and so hopefully it won’t be too long until we introduce them to the rest of the group.”

At around 100 days old the chicks will be on view in the zoo’s Europe on the Edge aviary.