Martin Mere

News from the Wild­fowl & Wet­lands Trust

Midweek Visiter - - Martin Mere -

EIGHT greater flamingo chicks have hatched at WWT Martin Mere Wet­land Cen­tre. Cen­tre man­ager Nick Brooks said: “It is al­ways great to see flamingo chicks at the cen­tre. They are very pop­u­lar with our vis­i­tors.

“We do a flamingo ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery day at 1.30pm where we put up a scope and show vis­i­tors eggs, skulls, feath­ers and pic­tures – it’s a great talk and an op­por­tu­nity to have the chicks pointed out.

“Our adult flamin­gos are ac­tu­ally as old as Martin Mere as they came from WWT Slim­bridge 40 years ago.

“The fact that they still con­tinue to breed is credit to our team of avi­cul­tur­ists and the care they show the birds.”

The greater flamin­gos are one of six species of flamin­gos found in the world.

They are the least vi­brant coloured of the six species, be­ing a pale salmon pink.

Flamin­gos are very so­cial birds who need to be kept to­gether in a large group to be happy.

At Martin Mere there are cur­rently 90 greater flamin­gos and they choose the same part­ners ev­ery year.

A sin­gle egg is laid by each pair and both the male and fe­male take it in turns to in­cu­bate.

In­cu­ba­tion takes ap­prox­i­mately 30 days and all chicks are par­ent-reared as th­ese so­cial young­sters ben­e­fit from be­ing with their mum and dad as well as with each other.

In ad­di­tion, adult flamin­gos pro­duce a spe­cial crop milk to feed their ba­bies on (pi­geons are the only other bird to do this).

The fluffy chicks grow very quickly (up to 2cm a day) and they are ful­lyfledged by the age of three months.

They are usu­ally grey or white in colour­ing and it takes ap­prox­i­mately two to three years to ob­tain full pink plumage.

Vince Ellis

Greater flamingo chicks have hatched at Martin Mere

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