Edinburgh Zoo welcomes Chilean flamingo chicks
Five Chilean flamingo chicks have been spotted testing the water at Edinburgh Zoo after the final chick slid down off its nest last week.
Keepers welcomed the arrival of the chicks, with a few even hatching from their eggs in front of delighted Zoo visitors.
The little grey balls of fluff are now aged between three and seven weeks old - the first hatched on 19 August 2014 and the final on 15 September 2014 – and add to Edinburgh Zoo’s flock of 33 adults.
Nick Dowling, Senior Bird Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We weren’t short of drama in the flamingo flock this year! When the first egg arrived the parenting couple got really excited and accidentally knocked it off the nest – their natural instinct was then to abandon the egg.
“We don’t usually intervene with our flamingo flock but as this was our first egg since 2010, we carefully picked it up and placed it back on the nest.
“Luckily, one of our same sex male couples went straight onto the nest, fostered the egg and raised it as their own.
“The fifth egg was born to a young, first time couple, but was then was ‘stolen’ by our other male-male couple! Chilean flamingos are very paternal so often the more dominant couples will squabble with the inexperienced parents and ‘steal’ the egg.
“Both these chicks are now walking around the enclosure in their father’s footsteps and will continue to feed from them for the next few months as interestingly, both male and female flamingos produce a nutritious, milk-like substance called crop milk.”