Bronx, NY – Aug. 15, 2012 – ATTACHED PHOTO AND VIDEO: A Caribbean flamingo hatchling takes its first steps at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. The chick is helped to its feet by its mother and stands on a nest mound in the pond outside of the zoo’s Aquatic Birds exhibit.
Flamingos are hatched with white downy plumage but develop trademark pink coloration from pigments in the algae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates that make up their diet. In the wild, these birds inhabit shallow bodies of salty water where food is plentiful.
Flamingos are well adapted for their environment. Their long legs allow them to easily wade across shallow water and their beaks are specially adapted to filter feed, separating food items from the mud and silt. Flamingos build nest mounds in the shallow water to keep their eggs and offspring out of the water until they are ready to fledge.
Earlier in the summer, researchers from WCS’s Bronx Zoo led a coalition of scientists to Inagua National Park in the Bahamas to band juvenile Caribbean flamingos so that their movement could be tracked as they migrate to breeding colonies throughout the Caribbean. The group corralled young birds from a flock of Caribbean flamingos in order to attach leg bands, record body measurements, and conduct brief health assessments. In all, 198 flamingos were banded and released.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.