Pensthorpe Welcomes the First Flamingo Chick of the 2024 Season 

Pensthorpe is thrilled to announce the hatching of the first flamingo chick, known as a chick, for the 2024 season.  

The proud parents, Stilts (ID tag: BAD) and Electra (ID tag: BAC), are both four-year-old Greater flamingos. They belong to a flamboyance of 62 flamingos at Pensthorpe.  

“Nesting season is always exciting and we were thrilled that the young pair, Stilts and Electra were successful in their first ever breeding attempt!.” commented Claudia Gooch, aviculture warden for Pensthorpe.  

Pensthorpe will be inviting their social media followers to help name the chicks hatched at Pensthorpe this year. Details on the competition and prizes for the winning names will be announced on their social media channels shortly.  

One of the highlights of a visit to Pensthorpe is catching sight of the reserve’s 62 flamingos, which are collectively called a flamboyance – a highly appropriate description of these colourful and particularly characterful feathered friends. The flamingos live in the Wetland Discovery Area and have been residents at Pensthorpe since 2005. In 2018, the nature reserve increased the flock to around 50 birds, boosting the chances of successful breeding. The first chick, Cosmo, was hatched in 2019. 

Pensthorpe’s Greater flamingos not only captivate visitors with their striking appearance and graceful demeanour but also contribute to important conservation and educational efforts. Our flamingos undergo DNA testing to determine their sex, each receiving a unique ID to assist in monitoring and care. 

Flamingos in the wild typically live for 30-40 years, but in captivity, their lifespan can extend significantly longer. We look forward to watching our new chick grow and thrive under the care and watchful eyes of its dedicated parents and the Pensthorpe team. 

Flamingo Fiesta  

This September, Pensthorpe is celebrating its pink stars with a Flamingo Fiesta which takes place on 28-29 September with a weekend of flamingo-themed events for all ages.  

There will be flamingo themed crafts, pond dipping, flamingo talks, flamingo themed café treats, face-painting and more, plus any children (or adults!) dressed up in flamingo fancy dress/theme will get 10% off their entry price*.  

Don’t forget to explore the magical gardens, take a trail through our stunning nature reserve, and let off some steam in our wonderful indoor and outdoor play areas while you are here! 

Gilda the giant TY flamingo will also be here for cuddles and fun! 

Fascinating Flamingo Facts at Pensthorpe 

·         Species: Pensthorpe’s Greater flamingos are the tallest and least pink among the six species of flamingos found worldwide. They typically inhabit warm, watery regions and are known for their impressive stature, standing around five feet tall. 

·         Feeding Habits: These birds are bottom filter feeders, living in lakes approximately one metre deep. They stir up the mud with their feet, causing food to float, which they then scoop into their bill, filtering out water. 

·         Colouration: Flamingos acquire their pink hue from consuming algae rich in carotenoids. This distinctive colouring plays a crucial role in attracting mates. 

·         Breeding: A successful breeding group requires at least 40 flamingos. At Pensthorpe, we established such a group in 2018, and it has been flourishing ever since. The nests, made of mud, are cone-shaped and about 30-60 cm tall, with a shallow dimple on top for holding a single egg. 

·         Growth and Development: Flamingo chicks are grey when they hatch and begin developing their pink feathers at around four months. They achieve their full pink colouration by the age of three years. 

·         Unique Anatomy: A flamingo’s ankle joint is located halfway up its leg, often mistaken for its knee. This peculiar anatomy allows them to stand on one leg for extended periods, sometimes up to four hours. 

Come visit Pensthorpe Natural Park to witness the enchanting sight of our growing flamboyance and join us in celebrating this joyous new arrival. For more information, visit Pensthorpe Natural Park

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All images in this article are courtesy of Claudia Gooch