A pair of rare African black crowned cranes have hatched at Chester Zoo.
These cranes are the first of their kind to have been born in the UK this year. It took 30 days in the incubator for the cranes to break out of the egg. They hatched on the 19/07/2014.
Andrew Owen, Chester’s curator birds said, ‘This is a very significant breeding – the first in the UK this year.’
Owens described the look of the young chicks, “Currently the chicks are small, yellow and fluffy and it’s hard to believe that they’ll grow up to look as striking and unusual as mum and dad. But soon enough they’ll develop golden feathers on top of their heads that almost resemble a Roman helmet. Already the young are very confident and capable of foraging with their parents.”
It also turns out that the chicks like to dance, “Cranes are also known for their elaborate dances and our young chicks are already capable of some nifty moves!” added Owens.
Chester has been supporting crane conservation in the costal water of Western Africa.
This is important says Owens as the cranes are “suffering from habitat loss and poisoning by farmers, black-crowned cranes are also caught and used as ‘guard dogs’. They are also disappearing as they hit newly installed overhead power lines. This all means that sadly, these birds are now very rare in the wild.”
These cranes are seen as vulnerable in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Due to drainage, overgrazing and pesticide pollution their habitat from Sengal to Chad is coming under threat. Capturing and trade of this species has also played a part in the population dropping to 15,000.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo