A zoo in Iowa got an early holiday present with the birth of a rare pink pigeon, the zoo recently announced.
Iowa's Blank Park Zoo announced last week the successful hatching of a rare Mauritius Pink Pigeon, an endangered species. The chick hatched in the middle of October, but the zoo delayed the announcement until they were sure the chick would survive. [Related: See other rare bird species.]
The young bird has already left the nest and can occasionally be seen flying in the zoo's aviary. The chick will turn its pinkish color in about a year when its adult feathers grow in.
"We're excited about this accomplishment not only for the zoo but also the future of the pink pigeon," said Mark Vukovich, the zoo's CEO.
The Mauritius Pink Pigeon lives on the islands of Mauritius off the east coast of Africa. There are only between 400 to 500 pink pigeons in the wild, with another 84 living in zoos. Through the help of a special breeding program , the species has rebounded from an estimated 10 birds about 20 years ago. The Blank Park Zoo acquired a pair of pink pigeons in early 2009 with hopes that they would become a breeding pair. But the zoo keepers were cautions at first because the two didn't seem to hit it off.
"One of the birds was more social with humans and the other was not," said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation at Blank Park Zoo. "We didn't think that was a good sign."
The pair eventually put their differences aside and nested, with both mother and father caring for the chick.
"We hope this is the beginning of many more chicks," said Chad Comer, one of the zoo's animal curators. "We have noticed they are already building another nest."