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San Diego Zoo Adds A Dozen Flamingo Chicks

The San Diego Zoo has added 13 flamingo chicks to its flock, 12 of which are being raised by foster parents.

The dozen foster chicks are greater flamingos and are closely related to the American flamingos kept at the zoo's Front Street habitat.

Photo credit: San Diego Zoo

A flamingo interacts with a flamingo chick at the San Diego Zoo, Aug. 6, 2018.

The chicks were hatched by American flamingos from eggs that were laid at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is home to the largest greater flamingo flock in managed care in the world.

"Since most of the American flamingo pairs residing in the zoo's Front Street habitat were not recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan, animal care staff decided to allow these adult birds to foster greater flamingo chicks," according to a zoo statement.

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In a few years, when the fostered birds are old enough, they will eventually create a separate greater flamingo flock at the zoo.

"We have a really great environment at the zoo that allows guests to observe flamingo parents raising their chicks from a very early age," said Dave Rimlinger, the zoo's curator of birds. "The breeding success with our greater flamingo flock at the Safari Park has provided a unique opportunity for the adult birds at the zoo, and we're very pleased with their parenting skills."

Flamingo chicks, unlike pink adult flamingos, are covered with white and grey feathers. The pink color comes from the rich amounts of carotenoid pigments in the algae and crustaceans they eat. Both the San Diego Zoo and the Zoo Safari Park feed flamingos a special pellet diet made for flamingos in captivity, giving them all the nutrients the birds need to develop and keep their pink hue.

Zoo visitors can see the new chicks at the Front Street habitat.

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