Four flamingos have set a new record for our keepers here at Blackpool Zoo after becoming the largest group of chicks to ever be successfully reared by their parents.
In 2020 we welcomed our first parent-reared flamingo chick, which, due to predation from seagulls and other wild pests, hadn't been achieved before.
Prior to 2020, our keepers removed eggs and hatched them in incubators before hand rearing and returning them to the flock.
The cute quartet, which hatched between 30th June and 3rd July this year, takes our number of Caribbean flamingos to 46, another all-time high for us.
The birds were given a helping hand by keepers who swapped the eggs for fakes and incubated until a few days before expected hatching.
All the chicks were hatched by different pairs of parents, who range from 20 to 38 years old.
The youngsters started to leave the nest at just a few days old and stayed with their parents, but in the last week, they have started to form a creche, as they would in the wild, which means that they will start to feed independently in the coming months.
Luke Forster, Deputy Section Manager, said: "The hatching and parent rearing of these chicks is an incredible achievement for the team here at Blackpool Zoo, and we are absolutely thrilled.
"Flamingo Lake has been at the heart of Blackpool Zoo since we opened in 1972, and our record number of birds, plus these four adorable chicks, really are a sight to behold.
"These results are testament to the hard work and dedication of a highly skilled team of expert keepers, and the colony has grown from 16 to 46 in the past ten years, which is fantastic.
"We've had a great year in our bird department with over 100 chicks hatched either in our bird nursery or in nests across the park.
"Once the new flamingos are around 12 weeks old, keepers will send feather samples to a specialist laboratory in Cornwall for DNA analysis, where the test will determine if the chicks are male or female.
"We will be looking to repeat and improve on this success in coming years, but for now, we're all just enjoying seeing the chicks out and about at Flamingo Lake."
Caribbean flamingo parents build nests out of mud, small stones, sticks, feathers and sand, which sit about the ground. The incubation period for this species is between 27 and 31 days, and both parents play a part in rearing the young.