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Record flamingo chicks at WWT Slimbridge thanks to dry weather


Record flamingo chicks at WWT Slimbridge thanks to dry weather

The flamingo flocks at Slimbridge are having a baby boom with record numbers of young this year thanks to the recent dry spell.
 
There are already 38 Caribbean and Greater Flamingo chicks at the centre with four more Caribbean eggs still to hatch.
 
In previous years the highest numbers for the two flocks has been 32 chicks, so staff at the Centre in Gloucestershire are delighted.
 
Mark Roberts, Slimbridge’s Aviculture Manager, said: “We are thrilled. The flamingos have had a good few years but we’re over the moon that both flocks have broken their previous records.
 
“The dry weather has helped them by encouraging breeding activity and also giving the chicks an easy start.
 
“We’re also reaping the rewards of changes we’ve made to their environment.”
 
A new enclosure called Flamingo Lagoon, which opened in 2012, offers visitors a fantastic view of the nesting island from a nearby sunken observatory.
 
A couple of years ago keepers switched to giving the flamingos river sand to make their nests rather than Gloucester clay.
 
Mark added: “We used to have to give them a helping hand starting their nests off with the clay but now we just put 40 tonnes of the river sand down and they build them from scratch.
 
“This really enriches the whole experience for them and studies have shown that river sand is the best substrate that flamingos can nest build or loaf on having fantastic healing properties for sore feet which long legged birds can be prone to.”

 
A flamingo chick is fed by both its parents using a special crop milk.
 
The fluffy grey chicks slowly develop the distinctive curved beak and pink feathers over time.
 
Soon WWT Slimbridge will be adding a LEGO brick flamingo to its collection when the trail launches on July 18.
 
For more information see wwt.org.uk/slimbridge


Explore Gloucestershire
9 July 2015


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