A pair of salmon-pink male Chilean Flamingos has adopted a fluffy grey newborn chick after it was knocked out of the nest by its parents.
The newborn is one of five Chilean Flamingos babies to Edinburgh Zoo’s flock of 33 adult birds this year, following successful breeding for the first time since 2010, reported the Mirror.
Senior bird keeper Nick Dowling was quoted as saying: ‘We weren’t short of drama in the flamingo flock this year.’
‘When the first egg arrived the parenting couple got really excited and accidentally knocked it off the nest – their natural instinct was then to abandon the egg.’
He added that while the zookeepers don’t usually intervene with their flamingo flock, but as it was the zoo’s first egg since 2010, a zookeeper carefully picked it up and placed it back on the nest.
‘Luckily, one of our same sex male couples went straight onto the nest, fostered the egg and raised it as their own.’
Colin Oulton, team leader at the zoo’s bird section, said, ‘We’ve been able to utilise these male male bonds and it’s working out fairly well. Male male pairs are equally able to rear youngsters.’
Native to South America, their wild population has been recorded at around 300,000. The species is labelled as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List as it is increasingly under threat from habitat loss, egg-harvesting and hunting.