Monday, 13 August 2012

Rare flamingo born after keepers play Barry White love songs to birds

Keepers in Sussex have gone to great lengths to encourage breeding amongst flamingos this year, including playing the birds classic love songs in an effort to set the mood.
Finally, their efforts have been rewarded with the welcome arrival of a healthy chick.
The rare Chilean flamingo is finding its oversized feet in the flock. It is the first successful hatching at the Drusillas Zoo in East Sussex in three years and keepers are tickled pink.
Classified as a threatened species, Chilean flamingos are native to western South America.
Sadly populations have declined in the wild mainly due to interference in their wetland habitats and human activity near breeding sites so birds abandon their nests.
The flamingos arrived at Drusillas in 1982 but there has not been a successful hatching since 2009.
This year the zoo was determined to break the cycle and over the last few months they have tried all manner of ways to encourage the birds’ natural courtship behaviours.
To get the feathered favourites in the mood the zoo team began by playing them love songs including the classics of love lyricists Barry White and Marvin Gaye.
These were played alongside pre-recorded mating vocalisations of Chilean flamingos attained from Zoo Atlanta, in Georgia.
The keepers also placed mirrors in the enclosure, to create the illusion of a fuller flock and egg on the romance; flamingos are very sensitive to their surroundings and feel safer in a larger group.
They even started building the nests and placed a fake egg on top.
At last their efforts finally paid off and the tiny chick is now making egg-cellent progress under the guidance of proud parents, Maurice and Gabriella.
The couple have been together at the Park since 2002 and the new addition is their third chick at Drusillas.
Feathers crossed these will hatch over the next two to three weeks, after an incubation period of 27 - 31 days.

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