Slimbridge flamingos foster chicks in fertility bid

Slimbridge flamingos foster chicks in fertility bid
Date:
Source:
BBC News
Category:
News

Three pairs of Andean flamingos at the Gloucestershire reserve were given eggs of their Chilean counterparts to nest. The Andean flamingos had been prompted to lay eggs by the hot weather but the flock has been infertile for 19 years so were left chick-less once again. All three chicks have hatched and staff say they are confident they will survive. Experts at Slimbridge spotted that the recent high temperatures had prompted the Andean birds to start laying for the first time since 2003, but the eggs were not viable.

'Fickle breeders'

Their keepers decided that, as the Chilean flock was also laying multiple eggs, a foster program might help prompt fertility in the Andean group.They gave six of the birds a handful of eggs to nest and hatch and now the young chicks are being raised by them. One of the foster mums came from the last set of successful Andean chicks, raised in 1999. "Flamingos are fickle breeders and can go years without nesting successfully," they explained.

An Andean flamingo with her Chilean flamingo chick
An Andean flamingo with her Chilean flamingo chick