Friday 6 August 1999
Whipsnade has been breeding Caribbean flamingos for over 20 years
FLAMINGO CRECHE AT WHIPSNADE
1999 has been a bumper breeding season for the shocking pink Caribbean flamingo at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park. With such long, slender legs, the balance required for a successful mating is an acquired art, and after a few years practising, the flock have successfully produced seven chicks. This is the largest number of chicks in one breeding season since 1983. Flamingos are considered difficult to breed well in captivity. Even in the wild, colonies of flamingos numbering tens of thousands can suddenly stop breeding. Researchers are still not entirely sure why this happens but know that a number of subtle changes are enough to prevent breeding. Whipsnade has been breeding Caribbean flamingos for over 20 years.
At the moment the chicks are easy to spot as they have fluffy grey feathers, short legs, straight beaks and 'hang out' in the creche, but they still go back to their nests to be fed and brooded. Moving as a group in and out of the water, the youngsters study their parents to learn how to be flamingos. After all, it's not easy to stand on one leg, feed with your head upside-down and still look stunningly beautiful, so practice makes perfect!
These newest arrivals will fledge at 3-4 months old, but it will be another year before their greyish feathers are moulted for the striking pink to add even more colour to the Park.
For more information and photo opportunities, please contact Jane or Miranda on 01582 872171.
— ENDS —