The flock of Chilean flamingos at the Houston Zoo is increasing. This is the first time flamingo eggs have successfully hatched at the Zoo. Astro and Orbit are the names given to the chicks in honor of Houston’s big league baseball club. The two new babies, as well as numerous other flamingos actively nesting, may be seen on display behind the Flamingo Terrace or online through the Zoo’s Flamingo Cam.
Flamingos construct nests that resemble mud mounds. The female lays one egg at the top, and the parents take turns sitting on the egg to keep it warm. The egg hatches after about 30 days. Flamingos breed in groups to ensure the survival of their young. Flamingos have short, straight bills and are born grey or white. While feeding their offspring, flamingo parents hold their bent accounts upside down. It might take up to three years for the chicks to grow to their characteristic pink hue.
Flamingoes have a high carotenoid intake, which is a pigment that can be found in the food that they consume, and this allows them to maintain their characteristic pink hue. Their diet includes food items such as algae, aquatic insects, and tiny crustaceans.
Chilean flamingos cannot drink salt water; thus, they must get their drinking water from freshwater sources such as springs and puddles. Their tongues include bristle-like projections that help them filter food and water. Flamingos are distinguished from other bird species by having the most extended neck and legs concerning their overall body size.
Guests can help save wild birds in South America by visiting the Zoo to see the newest members of the Chilean flamingo flock, Astro and Orbit. A portion of each Zoo membership and ticket purchase goes toward tree replanting. By serving bird-friendly coffee, the Zoo is also helping birds. Bird-friendly coffees are grown in a way that provides birds and other wildlife shelter and a variety of foods.