Pink and red baby flamingos born in Moscow Zoo

July 14, 2020
Parks and pedestrian areas

The Moscow Zoo was recently the birthplace of red and pink baby flamingos. Both species are listed on the IUCN Red List. The number of these birds in natural environments is declining.

“This summer has seen the birth of five chicks of Red List flamingos, one pink and four red born at the our zoo. Having regular offspring of rare birds, we have created a reserve population of two species in captivity. When the babies grow up, they will go to the leading zoos in Russia or abroad to pair up with the flamingos living there,” said Svetlana Akulova, general director of the Moscow Zoo.

According to Akulova, it was important to create special conditions for the birds. After all, flamingos take quite a bit of time making up their minds where they want to nest. They like to find the best spots, preferably up high. This habit works both well in an aviary and in the wild. Flamingos build their nests from clay and, only having completed the construction, start breeding offspring.

At present the chicks that were born in the zoo don’t really resemble their parents. Their bodies are covered with soft gray fluff and their legs are not very long. It takes between two and three months before the babies begin to get their adult pink or red plumage, and then after a year there will be no trace of gray fluff whatsoever. Their legs will also grow gradually and become adult-like at the age of two.

Newborn flamingos have a straight beak. At the age of two to three weeks, their beaks begin to start to curve. At the age of four to five, they usually mate and have offspring. Flamingos are monogamous and usually only have one partner during the whole their lives. In the wild, these birds usually live up to 30 years, and in zoos it could up to 50 years.

Both parents take care of the baby flamingos and mother as well as father hatch eggs one at a time, and then they feed their babies in the same way. Twice a day, the chicks get a mixture of Atlantic herring, crustaceans and mixed feed enriched with carotene. This substance is responsible for the intensity of their colour.

The baby flamingos already began to explore outside their nest and explore the world around them. Under the tireless control of their parents, they walk and try to plunge into water. Visitors can watch them. The youngsters live with all the other flamingos at the Big Pond of the Moscow Zoo.

It is best to see flamingos during their morning and afternoon feeding time. The adult birds have a great appetite, lowering their luxurious beaks into the water, and after dining they start their preening. The chicks diligently copy the movements of the adults.

Since last year, the capital’s zoo has become the record holder for the number of flamingos living in it. There is not such a large population of these birds in any other Russian zoo. In total, there are now about 50 exotic birds.

Pink (or greater) flamingos in the wild live in Africa, southern Europe and Southwest Asia. Pink flamingos are considered the biggest species of flamingos. An adult can be as much as 145 centimetres tall and weigh four kilogrammes.

Red (or Caribbean) flamingos are smaller than pink ones. Their height does not exceed 110 centimetres, and their maximum weight is 2.5 kilogrammes. Representatives of this species live on the Galapagos Islands and on the islands and lagoons of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, from where they got their second name. Red flamingos prefer to nest on the coasts of large ocean bays.

Flamingos live in large flocks, and they are very restless birds. Their voices are loud and rough, sounding like the gaggling of geese. Group members often have conflicts, which turn into noisy quarrels. The birds try to impress and scare their rivals away by flapping their wings loudly and emitting piercing screams. During such conflicts, adult flamingos forget about their eggs in the nest and can inadvertently even damage them. This is why the zoo ornithologists carefully monitor the situation in the groups during the breeding season.

This year, rare baby Dalmatian pelicans and baby bush dogs were born at the Moscow Zoo. In addition to this, puppies of the maned wolf, one of the rarest representatives of the canine family, came into the world.

In March, the Humboldt Penguin family got offspring. Now the Moscow Zoo is home to the largest group of these birds in Russia, consisting of nine breeding pairs and more than a dozen birds of different ages – from chicks to very adult penguins. Together with the hatched babies, the family has 35 individuals. In addition to this, in the spring, a baby ring-tailed lemur and a black stork chick were born, and in June, a giant cloud rat’s pup came into this world.


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