Sylvan Heights Bird Park Welcomes Two New Flamingo Chicks
July 25, 2023
SCOTLAND NECK, NC
Sylvan Heights Bird Park is celebrating the arrival of two American Flamingo chicks. The chicks hatched on July 10th, 2023, and are thriving under the care of their parents in the park’s Multinational aviary. Guests can catch a great view of the chicks from the deck behind the Sylvan Heights Bird Park Visitor Center, which overlooks the flamingos’ island in the aviary.
American Flamingos begin the nest construction process in late spring, building large nest mounds by scooping up mud with their bills and adhering it to the sides and top of the mound until it reaches the desired height and size. Sticks, leaves, and feathers are sometimes included in the structure. Once finished, females lay a single egg on top of the mound, and both parents take turns incubating the egg for around 30 days.
For the first few days of its life, a flamingo chick remains on the nest mound under the care of its parents. The parents will feed the chick on the nest, protect it from any danger, and help regulate the chick’s body temperature by brooding it under their wings.
Both parents participate in raising the chick, and will feed it a nutritious red liquid called crop milk, which is also full of the same carotenoid pigments that make flamingo feathers pink. Since these pigments in the parents’ diet are being transferred to the chick rather than deposited into the adult’s feathers, parent flamingos often turn noticeably paler than their non-parent counterparts, giving the impression that they’ve been “drained” of their color!
Flamingo chicks leave the nest at just a few days old, and eventually join other young flamingos in a group called a créche. Flamingo parents are able to locate their chick by its vocalizations, and will feed only their own chick in the créche. Flamingo chicks also start foraging for their own food a few weeks after hatching. The parents will care for their chick in the créche for about 2 to 3 months until it is independent and can eat on its own.
Chicks hatch with white or silvery-grey down, which is eventually replaced with grey feathers. It takes around 2 years for a flamingo to reach full color.
To learn more about flamingos, watch our Keeper Talk, “All About Flamingos”, below!
Photos and videos by Katie Lubbock. For media inquiries, please contact email@example.com.