CHIANG Mai Zoo has some good news to share and although this isn’t about a new baby panda many would still be happy to hear that the flock of flamingos have three newly-born young ones to take care of, Thai News Agency said today (July 4).
Niphon Vichairat, director of Chiang Mai Zoo, said although hopes of getting a baby panda this year have been dashed the zoo is still delighted at getting other new members with the latest being flamigos laying 11 eggs with three baby flamingos already born in good health and taking the zoo’s flamingo population to 46.
Tourists are welcome to come and see how cute these baby flamingos are every day with there being eight more eggs due to hatch soon.
According to Thespruce.com, flamingos are monogamous birds that lay only a single egg each year. If that egg is lost or damaged, they do not typically lay a replacement. If a flamingo colony is ransacked by predators or hit with a natural disaster, it can take several years for the birds to recover and for their population to grow again.
Parent flamingos feed their chicks exclusively crop milk for 5-12 days after hatching. After that time, the chicks do begin to forage on their own, though young flamingos may continue to eat crop milk for up to two months as their bills develop. This high fat, high protein substance is not like mammalian milk, but is excellent nutrition for growing chicks. Parent flamingos produce crop milk in their digestive tracts and regurgitate it to feed their young.
Flamingo chicks are born gray or white and take up to three years to reach their mature pink, orange or red plumage. Their young feathers are much less structured and fluffy than adult plumage, but that down provides excellent insulation to help keep baby flamingos warm.
The pink, orange or red color of a flamingo’s feathers is caused by carotenoid pigments in their food. A wild flamingo’s diet includes shrimp, plankton, algae and crustaceans skimmed from different water sources. If those food sources do not provide enough pigmentation, flamingos may seem more gray or white, but they are still healthy and strong. In zoos and aviaries, captive flamingos are often fed a specialized diet that will help preserve and enhance their unique coloration.
The greater flamingo is the largest flamingo species and can measure up to five feet tall when standing erect with its head raised, but only weighs a maximum of eight pounds. The lesser flamingo is the smallest flamingo and can reach three feet tall and typically weighs 3-6 pounds.
Top: Flamingos at Chiang Mai Zoo. Photo: Thai News Agency