Lincoln Park Zoo Breeds Two Micronesian Kingfishers

Micronesian Kingfisher
Originally uploaded by SARhounds

The Lincoln Park Zoo successfully bred 2 Micronesian kingfisher chicks this Spring. The mated pair of kingfishers laid 2 eggs, and the keepers stole one of the eggs since 1 sibling usually kills the other. So while 1 chick is being raised by the parents, the other chick is being fed by keepers using tweezers and a hand puppet. Only 132 Micronesian kingfishers remain in the world (these new chicks increase the number to 134). In their native habitat, the birds were almost completely wiped out by invasive brown tree snakes introduced to the island after World War II. When zoos first started raising the birds in captivity, they were mystified by the fact that the birds often died at 2-4 years of age. They eventually learned that the kingfishers need to have lizards in their diet in addition to insects and chopped mouse meat. The birds can also be difficult to breed because not all male/female pairs make a love connection. Some would prefer to squabble, while others would prefer to remain platonic friends. But Lincoln Park Zoo and other zoos have had good success with their breeding programs. Unfortunately, the birds can’t be released back to their native habitat just yet since the invasive snakes have proven tough to eradicate. Conservationists hope another island might be identified that could serve as a new home for these endangered birds. Read the full article about these new chicks and the folks who raise them at The Wenatchee World.


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