Bumper yield of flamingo chicks
Published 19/06/2014 | 13:27
Record numbers of chicks are being reared at Europe's largest greater flamingo flock.
A total of 35 fluffy chicks are being raised at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.
The wetland centre's flock is the largest in Europe with 245 birds and the number of newborns has smashed the previous record of 25 set in 2010.
Mark Roberts, aviculture manager, said: "It is really quite incredible as the wet weather in May certainly made rearing challenging for them.
"Their nesting island is now made out of sand rather than mud which has been shown in recent studies to be better and they really like the environment of Flamingo Lagoon, so I think it must be down to these factors.
"It is a stunning sight to see all the chicks around the nesting island and the observatory has been busy with visitors enjoying watching all the action."
Now the successful flock is taking great care rearing the bumper yield of chicks using supervised 'creches' to allow the parents time to themselves.
The chick's parents still crop feed the bird but for long periods of the day the chicks will stay with each other with just seven or eight 'nanny' adults supervising them.
Mr Roberts added: "The creches are fun to watch. If a plane flies over or if there is any other disturbance that they deem a threat the chicks all huddle together with the 'nanny' birds forming a protective ring on the outside.
"Flamingos are extremely sociable birds with a complex hierarchy. This emphasis on flock behaviour starts from when they are just days old when they join the creche."
Four of the world's six flamingo species are classed as 'Vulnerable' or 'Near Threatened' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
It is thought there are less than 30 breeding sites left in the whole world.