It's clear Auckland Zoo's young flamingos Otis (left) and Willoughby (right) are tickled pink with our Pridelands team leader Nat and think that she's one cool chick, and that the feeling is mutual!
Under Nat and her team's care, Otis, Willoughby, and our third chick Cole, which hatched earlier this year, are thriving, and really starting to 'pink up' – a result of their diet.
Successfully breeding these three greater Africa flamingo from a hand-reared flock in one breeding season is a record, and follows the Zoo's 2014 milestone of being the first zoo in the world to breed from an entirely hand-reared flock.
Nat says the chicks (that are still to be sexed) are now fully integrated with and accepted by the rest of the 20-strong flock.
"Otis, Willoughby and Cole are getting to learn all about the courtship behaviour of the adults from a really young age, which is great, and they'll sometimes get caught up in adults' breeding marches. But they also love to hang out with each other, as well as with our male 'Chick' that hatched in 2014, and they're all very vocal," says Nat.
Nat explains the courtship behaviours of the adults, from pairing up, breeding marches and wing salutes, are all because these birds are coming into breeding season, and Zoo visitors can expect to see them nest building very soon.
Both parent flamingos build the nest – an impressive creation that looks a bit like a mini crater, and is made up of mounds of mud, small stones, straw and feathers.
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