Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is pleased to announce the successful hatching of two spring chicks – an African penguin and a Demoiselle crane, the second proving that birds of a feather, don’t always flock together!
TAMPA, Fla. (June 10, 2013) — Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is pleased to announce the successful hatching of two spring chicks – an African penguin and a Demoiselle crane, the second proving that birds of a feather, don’t always flock together!
In wild colonies, penguins are thought to mate for life. Likewise, at the Zoo, African penguins usually remain with a single partner for years. The newest chick, hatched May 8, is the third successful hatchling for parents “Thumbelina” and “Flannigan” who have been paired for several years. As with the previous chicks, the newest offspring has just transitioned to zookeeper care to facilitate independence and learning to swim, before ultimately joining the colony on exhibit in several months. Once on exhibit, the chick will be easy to spot with its dark gray juvenile plumage which will be replaced by the characteristic black and white feathers following its first molt.
There are 17 species of penguins in the world, each distinctive. Not all species live in frigid climates, with some well suited for warm climates. African penguins, endemic to mainly offshore islands on South Africa’s coast, were reclassified in 2010 from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered' on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List. The Zoo’s penguins are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) program.
Two female Florida cranes at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo have adopted the chick of a Eurasian crane. When a pair of Demoiselle cranes in Zoo’s Sulawesi aviary seemed not to know what to do with their first egg, quick thinking zookeeprs slipped the egg under a female sandhill crane nearby in the Lykes Florida Wildlife Center. The egg hatched May 25 and the chick is now being raised by the female sandhill cranes.
This fostering technique is used in other bird species to help build up populations or when parent birds lack experience. Like sandhill cranes that migrate long distances -- from Nebraska to Florida -- Demoiselle cranes also travel great distances, from western Eurasia to winter in Africa and from Mongolia high across Himalayan mountains into India. Though the wild population is presently abundant, it is in decline. Demoiselle cranes were quite common in zoos at one time, however that is not the case now.