First Chilean Flamingo Chicks In Over 10 years!
CONTACT: April Spurlock
December 19, 2013
The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to announce the long-awaited addition of six flamingo chicks to the current flock of Chilean flamingos. The fluffy, gray youngsters, three male and three female, range in age from one month to four and half months old. Four of the baby birds can now be seen on exhibit with their parents while two of the recently hatched chicks are being hand-reared off-display and will soon be introduced to the rest of the flock. In addition, there are two eggs currently in an incubator behind the scenes that are expected to hatch within the next week.
These babies are the first Chilean flamingo chicks to hatch at the L.A. Zoo in over 10 years. Previously the Zoo had a mixed flock containing Chilean and Caribbean flamingos in one habitat which didn’t allow for breeding.
“Breeding wasn’t an option because we don’t allow our animals to hybridize,” said Susie Kasielke, Curator of Birds at the Los Angeles Zoo. “When the Caribbean flamingos in our collection were relocated to another AZA-accredited facility to join a larger flock, the L.A. Zoo was able to start considering breeding the Chilean flamingos for the first time in over 10 years.”
The chicks were produced utilizing a new breeding technique for the Zoo that allows the flamingos to have access to both on and off-display areas of their habitat during the breeding season. In the past breeding birds stayed off-display for nesting, with a smaller group of non-breeding individuals out on display. The new system of expanding their environment during breeding proved to be an immediate success.
“They started building nests right away,” said Susie Kasielke. “The new system has gone really well and has exceeded our expectations.”
Guests are encouraged to come watch these youngsters discover their new habitat while they find their place amongst the flock of beautiful, pink birds. Although the chicks hatched with fluffy gray down, their feathers will start to turn pink around four months old but will retain some gray feathers until they are mature at three to four years old. There are currently 87 Chilean flamingos in the flock at the L.A. Zoo as well as a flock of 35 Greater flamingos located in the Zoo’s Aviary.
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. For general information, call (323) 644-4200.