The staff at Stone Zoo announced the recent hatches of six Caribbean flamingo chicks.
“The success of this colony is all thanks to the expert care of the Stone Zoo keeper staff,” said Frederick Beall, Zoo New England’s general curator. “The flock has grown tremendously from its initial population of four birds 20 years ago, to a desired population of 50 birds today. Even the oldest member of the flock, a 44-year-old female, continues to reproduce and contribute to the colony’s growth.”
(Mike Diskin photo)
Stone Zoo has had a highly successful Caribbean flamingo breeding colony for many years. The first breeding occurred in 1994, and it has continued annually with a total of 87 Caribbean flamingo hatches. Flamingos breed most readily in high density breeding colonies. The ideal breeding conditions must include easy access to water as well as a shallow muddy area. Flamingos build their nests by mounding up piles of mud, which can measure up to 2 feet tall. Both in the wild and in captivity, the high density, muddy breeding colonies can become rather aromatic. A single egg is laid and is incubated by both parents. Both parents are active in rearing the chick.
Caribbean flamingo chicks are born white and develop their distinctive pink color at around 2 to 3 years of age from their shrimp diet. Caribbean flamingos have a richer scarlet/rosy plumage compared to that of the Chilean flamingo, a flock of which is exhibited at Franklin Park Zoo. The flock at Stone Zoo is now 47 birds, plus six chicks, which range in age from just under one month to 44 years. A number of flamingos from this colony have gone to other zoos, and additions from other sources have helped keep this flock genetically diverse.