Date: 14 Jun 2019
Do you remember our little flamingo chicks Popcorn and Peanut?
They are growing up so fast! Popcorn hatched on 17 September and Peanut hatched on 5 October, they are almost 9 months old already! The pair needed to be hand reared since birth due to the extreme weather conditions late in the year. All of the Belfast Zoo keeping staff have done an amazing job raising Popcorn and Peanut.
Belfast Zoo has been home to flamingos since the zoo first opened in 1934, however our first Chilean flamingos which currently reside in Belfast Zoo arrived in 2010.
The successful breeding of the flamingo chicks is great news for Belfast Zoo. Since the flamingos were first introduced to Belfast Zoo they have never laid eggs, despite attempts by the zoo team to encourage breeding behaviour. Last year, zookeepers built artificial nests consisting of mounds of mud measuring 30 to 60 centimetres in height and installed ‘dummy eggs’ to encourage breeding behaviour. This had instant success with the birds beginning to display natural courtship behaviours and soon eggs began to appear on the nests. The eggs soon hatched and we got our two adorable chicks Popcorn and Peanut. The chicks are currently slowly being reintroduced to the rest of their flock.
Chilean flamingos originate from central Peru, Boliva, Argentine and Chile. The word flamingo originates from the Portuguese language and means ‘red goose’. Flamingos feed with their beak upside down. They tip their head into the water and filter feed, using special hair like adaptations. Which allow them to catch the small microorganisms that make up their diet.
Did you know flamingos are not born with their distinctive colour? Their stunning colour comes from the carotenoid pigments which they consume as part of their diet.
You can visit Popcorn and Peanut and the entire Chilean flamingo flock at the Belfast Zoo lake area!