Habitat: Lakes and coastal lagoons
Range: Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Pakistan
The Fort Worth Zoo proudly announces the successful hatchings of 13 lesser flamingo chicks, hatched from January to March of this year. Lesser flamingos are extremely difficult to breed in captivity and reproduce less than any other flamingo species found in U.S. zoos. The Fort Worth Zoo boasts the most successful lesser flamingo breeding program in the world, with the hatchings of 196 chicks since the program began in 2002.
For years, the Zoo’s lesser flamingo collection was housed in an outdoor, natural habitat that resulted in little breeding success. After making adjustments to the birds’ nesting habitat, which included adding heating lamps, a small pool and mirrors to provide the illusion of more birds, Zoo staff celebrated the first successful hatching. The smallest of the six flamingo species, the lesser flamingo is 31 to 36 inches tall and weighs 3 to 5 pounds. It has light pink feathers, yellow or orange eyes and a black bill tipped with red.
The Zoo’s lesser flamingo breeding efforts are incredibly important to create a long-term, self-sustaining population of these birds in U.S. zoos – lesser flamingos are listed as near threatened by IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, primarily due to habitat alteration.