Record numbers of Chilean flamingos have hatched at Longleat in Wiltshire with the safari park welcoming a total of 15 chicks to the colony this year.
Flamingos lay just one egg at a time on top of a tall cone nest. Each chick hatches with white plumage, which they will keep for around three years, and a straight bill which gradually droops down as the bird grows.
Reaching around a-metre-and-a-half tall when fully grown, flamingos can live for 15-20 years in the wild and up to 70 years in captivity, where safe from predators.
Wild flamingos eat small crustaceans and other microscopic animals and plants which are obtained by filter feeding. At Longleat they eat a special flamingo diet that contains pigments essential for maintaining their distinct colour.
Keeper Georgina Barnes said: “We are extremely pleased with the high success rate for hatchings among the flamingos this year.
“It’s likely to be down to a combination of factors including good weather during the egg hatching period, the arrival of some new individuals to grow the existing colony and the fact that so many of the eggs were fertile.
“The fact that some of the chicks are being looked after by their parents is great; however, it does still mean we need to provide round the clock care for the other youngsters which are in our incubation room,” she added.
For more information on visiting Longleat go to www.longleat.co.uk