Rare curly pelicans were born in the Moscow Zoo

May 3
Parks and pedestrian areas

The chicks of rare curly pelicans have hatched out in the Moscow Zoo. These birds are listed in the International Red Book as near threatened with extinction. Curly pelicans are the rarest of all pelican species.

"Zoologists have managed to create comfortable conditions for the birds and they regularly bring offspring. The birds build their own nests, hatch their eggs, and feed their chicks. This year, the family of rare pelicans who now has 11 specimens, was replenished with two babies. When they were born, they weighed only about 100 grams. A month later, the elder's body weight has exceeded one kilogram, the younger is catching up with him. Both are healthy, active, and curious about the nest, the parents, and everything they can reach. One of the chicks is already trying to get up, but it's too early for him: his legs are not strong," Svetlana Akulova, General director of the Moscow Zoo said.

So far, newborns do not look like adult relatives: they are several times smaller, and the body is covered with grayish-brown down. The chicks will get white feathers when they are one year old, and the adolescent molt will be completed by the age of three. By this time, their heads will be decorated with curly feathers, thanks to which the species got its name.

The parents are still feeding their babies but the chicks are already trying to swallow small fish (herring) on their own. The diet of adult birds also includes pollock and carp.

The family of curly pelicans lives in the Tropics Birds and Butterflies warm pavilion, they occupy the same room with pink pelicans. In the near future, the birds will move to the Swamp outdoor aviary. The newborns will join them in June when the air warms up to about 20 °C. The relatives will teach the chicks to swim and fish.

To protect the curly pelicans from extinction, the European Breeding Book on this rare species is maintained. The Moscow Zoo takes an active part in its addition, the grown-up chicks are sent to the leading domestic and foreign zoos.

Curly pelicans are masters of fishing, usually their prey is carp, bream, perch, roach and herring.

In addition to the long curling feathers on the head, the birds are distinguished by a longer beak than that of other species. It can reach 75 centimeters length. The throat sac under the beak is painted in a bright yellow-orange hue. Pelicans use it as a landing net, they can put more than four kilograms of food in it at a time. The curly pelican is one of the largest migratory birds: the weight of the adult one reaches 15 kilograms, and the body length usually varies from 150 to 170 centimeters, the wingspan exceeds three meters.

Pelicans live in river deltas rich in aquatic vegetation and fish, in fresh and brackish lakes with thickets, as well as on islands of salt lakes without surface vegetation. In Russia, they can be found only in a few regions, for example, in the delta of the Kuban, Volga, Terek rivers and in the lakes of the Tobol-Ishim interfluve. Pelicans spend the winter in warm countries - Iran, Pakistan, India, as well as in the southern part of China. In addition, the birds inhabit the water reservoirs of Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They build nests as small colonies, often together with pink pelicans.

In nature, their numbers are declining due to pollution and river drainage. Illegal hunting also causes losses to the natural bird population. According to zoologists, there are now about 12 thousand representatives of this rare species in the world.

Source: mos.ru

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