Keepers at a Cotswold bird park are celebrating after the arrival of two adorable flamingo chicks – the first to have been born there in a decade.
The pair of greater flamingo chicks hatched out at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water after a record egg-laying spree during lockdown.
The park had been closed to the public since March, however with perfect timing the stunning birds have begun to hatch no fewer than seven eggs just as visitors start to return.
“Both chicks are doing really well and we’re now eagerly waiting to see when the other five eggs start to hatch out,” said head keeper Alistair Keen.
“These are the first eggs to have been laid by the birds for more than 10 years and for us to see these cute little chicks hatching out is amazing.
“The adults take it in turns to sit on the nests, which they build with a mixture of mud and sticks on an island in the middle of the lake.
“Some visitors had wondered whether lockdown had encouraged the birds to lay their eggs but we’re pretty sure that wasn’t a factor. A number of the birds arrived with us just over a year ago and it’s taken them that long to get properly settled in.
“The sheer number of eggs being laid and the fact so many of them look like they’re going to hatch out is a great indicator the flock is feeling very much at home here,” he added.
The greater flamingo is the most widespread and largest member of the flamingo family. Fully grown adult male birds can grow in excess of 180 cm tall.
In the wild flamingos eat small crustaceans and other microscopic animals and plants which are obtained by filter feeding.
The continuously-moving beak acts as an efficient filter for food collection when water is pumped through the bristles of the mouth.
The typical lifespan for the bird in captivity is an astonishing 60 years and one individual at an Australian Zoo lived to be 83.
With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from birds of prey and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays. It is also home to England’s only colony of breeding king penguins.
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