Greater Flamingoes

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Chan Yoke Meng had the opportunity to observe the small colony of captive Greater Flamingoes (Phoenicopterus rubber), also known as Caribbean Flamingoes, at the Jurong Bird Park between December 2003 and January 2004. He witnessed and recorded on film the hatching of one egg and how the parent birds fed the chick.

There were three nests, each a small mound of earth with a shallow depression at the top. On each of the nests was a single egg. The egg in one nest hatched on 1st January 2004 giving a healthy chick. The second nest gave a dead chick. The egg in the third nest failed to hatch.

The successfully hatched chick was totally covered with white down feathers. During the first few days the chick was snugly tucked under the wing of the parent bird. With its head poking out of the wing, the chick was fed with a milky liquid secreted from the upper digestive track of the parent. The parent held its curved bill over the chick’s straight bill and dripped the secretion down. Flamingo chicks are usually fed by their parents until the former are quite old, even after their bill is completely curved and capable of filter feeding.

Thanks Meng for sharing your observations and images. Obviously the chick did not approve of your presence.

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