A 2-day-old Caribbean flamingo chick curled up for warmth next to its mother. Photo by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

The flamingo island at the San Diego Zoo is home to four new chicks from one to eight days old, and keepers are expecting six more this month.

The flamingo chicks will stay with a parent for the first five-to-seven days on a nest mound created for the chick. Once the chicks are bigger and more confident, they’ll explore off the island by wading in the water surrounding it.

When they hatch, the chicks have gray down feathers and are the size of a tennis ball with legs.

“There are over 70 birds in this flamingo colony and they all breed around the same time,” said Joop Kuhn, animal care manager for the bird department at the zoo. “Flamingos are colony nesters, so there is safety in numbers. There are more eyes and ears looking out for disturbances to the colony, and it helps when raising young at the same time.”

The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park are among only a handful of zoos in the world to raise four of the five flamingo species: Caribbean flamingos, a greater flamingo subspecies, Chilean flamingos, and lesser flamingos. Together, the Zoo and Park have successfully hatched over 450 chicks.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.