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Rare Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Chicks Hatch at Phoenix Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: June 9, 2020 12:30 pm

Photo Credit: Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo has welcomed four cactus ferruginous pygmy owl chicks at their Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (ACNC). These chicks are the first to be hatched at Phoenix Zoo as part of a recently established breeding program.

These four chicks were hatched to two pairs. Courtship was observed by all 3 pairs of cactus ferruginous pygmy owls housed at the Center. A total of 11 eggs were laid but one pair’s eggs were infertile. The other pairs hatched 1 egg and 3 eggs respectively. It is hoped that the 3rd pair will lay a new clutch and be successful in raising these.

The chicks have hatched following their one month incubation.

Photo Credit: Phoenix Zoo

In 2017 the Zoo’s Conservation and Science Department began plans to care for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. They were at the time building a Multi-Species Conservation Support Center. In 2018 they welcomed their first pair of owls. The two additional pairs came later in 2018 and were paired for breeding at the start of the 2019. This is part of a pilot breeding program started by Wild at Heart Raptor Rescue and managed in association with Arizona Game & Fish Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

In addition to their work at the zoo, staff have undertaken over 500 hours of field studies and research on owl behavior. The staff on these studies were assisting the Arizona Game & Fish Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo Credit: Phoenix Zoo

Director of Conservation and Science at the zoo, Dr. Tara Harris said, “We’re thrilled about the success we’ve had with pygmy-owls in just a short amount of time, and excited to be working with our conservation partners to learn about the behavior and reproduction of this native species.”

The four owl chicks are reported by the zoo as being strong and it is expected they will leave the nest soon. Once this occurs the zoo will pair some of the chicks to create further breeding pairs and expand the program.

The cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is a threatened species especially in Arizona. They are also found in Texas and Mexico. Their population has been declining since the 1970s due to habitat loss.

Learn more about the Phoenix Zoo here – Phoenix Zoo Website

Video Credit: Phoenix Zoo

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