Baby boom in the bird department
Published: Aug 11, 2017Our bird department has been busy recently. We’ve had lots of new additions over the past few weeks so I thought it was time I introduced you to some.
Our bird department has been busy recently. We’ve had lots of new additions over the past few weeks so I thought it was time I introduced you to some.
Red-billed whistling (or black-bellied whistling) duck
Firstly, here’s our red-billed whistling ducklings. We have two pairs here and it’s the first time we have ever bred this species at Newquay Zoo – pretty awesome huh?!
These little cuties are native to South America. Red-billed whistling ducks have a strong monogamous bond and often stay together for many years, a trait usually associated with geese or swans. And guess what? Both parents get stuck in with the parenting – they share all the tasks, from the incubation of the eggs to rearing the young ducklings.
The laughing thrushes
Next up are our comedy duo – the laughing thrushes – get it?!
These two are being hand reared by our bird keeping team. Although both are from the laughing thrush family, one is a Sumatran laughing thrush and the other a Spotted laughing thrush. As these two would otherwise be on their own, the team decided to look after them together. They have the same diet, and get fed on the hour every hour – which means our bird team needs to work around the clock to look after them.
Luckily, this will only continue whilst they are young. When they get a little older they will be fed a lot less frequently until they are able to take care of themselves.
In the video below the duo are only 14 days old, wrapped in a nest shaped paper towel. These guys are part of a very important breeding programme as numbers in the wild are dramatically declining due to the cage bird trade. Many song bird species are currently under threat throughout South-East Asia due to unsustainable numbers being caught in the wild and kept in tiny cages – so it is hugely important that we help protect the species.
Black necked stilts
With legs I can only dream about, our next set of feathered friends are these, the black necked stilts. Originally from South America, this species is a wading bird, meaning they spend a lot of their time in shallow water looking for food. Again, like the whistling ducks both parents incubate the eggs. Keen swimmers, the little ones are often seen swimming within two hours after hatching!
Pekin robin (or red billed leiothrix)
The cutest of them all has got to be this Pekin robin chick; having just hatched he’s got his mouth open waiting for food. Once this little one is a bit older he will bloom into a beautifully coloured bird. Adults have bright red bills and a dull yellow rings around their eyes. Their backs are an olive green and they also have a bright yellow orange throat and chin!