SeaWorld California is celebrating the first flamingo hatchings of the season with the arrival of nine Caribbean flamingo chicks.
Incubation, which lasts about 28 days, begins soon after the egg is laid. Both the male and female take turns incubating the egg by sitting on top of the nest mound. Once hatched, both parents feed the chick by producing a milk-like secretion called “crop milk.” Newly-hatched chicks have grey or white down feathers, a straight red bill and plump, swollen red or pink legs. Chicks lose their juvenile grey or white colour gradually over a two–or three–year period, at which time their pink feathers begin to show.
The SeaWorld San Diego animal care team is also keeping a watchful eye on other future hatchings. About 30 other eggs have been laid so far, with the flamingo breeding season continuing to the end of July. SeaWorld San Diego has been caring for and breeding flamingos since the 1970s.