The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens' newest resident has hatched -- a baby Caribbean flamingo.
The chick, whose gender is not yet known, came from one of two eggs recently acquired from the National Zoo in Washington.
The two eggs came from the National Zoo in Washington and arrived in Jacksonville on July 16. The first egg “pipped,” or began hatching, at about 9 a.m. July 19 and was completely out of the egg just after 7 a.m. the following day. Emergency zoo staff assisted after the chick had become twisted inside the shell. The second egg is in the zoo’s incubator and is expected to hatch around July 28.
"We are very excited to finally see a flamingo chick at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and hope to have many more chicks in the future as we build the flock’s numbers," said Dan Maloney, deputy director of conservation and education for Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
The zoo's staff is closely monitoring the egg and the chick until they get through these early critical stages of life. After both chicks are well established, they will go through a process of introduction to the Zoo’s existing flock. First, the chicks will live in a small “howdy” pen next to the flock’s nesting area at the flamingo exhibit. It will take about eight weeks before they will be allowed to spend long periods of time next to the flock, however, there will be plenty of photo opportunities for zoo guests throughout the various stages of their life.
The zoo brought in the new eggs to even out the ratio of males and females, which will hopefully increase the flock’s numbers and productivity. It is the 13th animal to be hatched or born at the zoo since May 31, and the first flamingo to be hatched in the zoo's history.
When the eggs they lay hatch, the chicks have white feathers that turn gray and later take their pink color from aqueous bacteria and beta-carotene obtained from their food.