After a winter spent growing behind the scenes, Lincoln Park Zoo’s Chilean flamingo chicks stepped out with their flock for the first time this week.
The five chicks are the first in Lincoln Park Zoo’s long history. They hatched last September thanks to a recommendation from the Chilean Flamingo Species Survival Plan®, a shared management effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. As you can see, they still bear the gray feathers of growing flamingos, although a few splashes of their familiar pink plumage are starting to enter the mix.
While this is the first time the flamingo chicks have mingled with the full flock outdoors, the chicks have been sharing space with the adults inside for several months now. The growing birds have added a nice boost of youthful energy to what had formerly been an all-adult flock.
The gray feathers of the juvenile Chilean flamingos stand out against the pink plumage of the adults in the flock in Lincoln Park Zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon.
For the first months of their life, though, these chicks were totally dependent on their caregivers. To ensure the new arrivals had the best chance to thrive, our experts made the decision to incubate and hand-rear these chicks behind the scenes. This resulted in a lot of late nights and long hours as the team led by Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds Sunny Nelson provided the around-the-clock care the little chicks needed to thrive.
The chicks now eat a mature diet, one that includes the natural pigment—carotenoid—that gradually produces their pink plumage. We’re thrilled to see them continue to grow, and we hope you can spot them yourself at the Waterfowl Lagoon soon.
Learn More with the Chilean Flamingo Fact Sheet!