06/10/2017

No longer an ugly duckling …

People called him an ugly duckling when he hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens with hardly any feathers and dark bulging eyes.

They said this Philippine cockatoo chick was more like a tiny dinosaur than a bird.

Others said he was featherless and small.

But just look at him now.

Four months on, he is fully grown and has snow white plumage with bright orange and yellow tail feathers.

He sits proudly on his perch at Bristol Zoo, where he enjoys a diet which includes his favourites of green beans, grapes and nuts.

It is all a far cry from his first days of life when he had very few feathers and tipped the scales at only 26 grams.

His arrival was significant because he was the first Philippine cockatoo chick to hatch at Bristol Zoo.

Kylie Abram, bird keeper at Bristol Zoo, said: “We are very proud to have produced a Philippine cockatoo like this.

“Breeding Philippine cockatoos in the UK zoos is very difficult, they are considered one of the most challenging species to breed.”

Philippine cockatoos, also known as Red-vented cockatoos or kalangays, are listed as ‘critically endangered’ on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Philippine cockatoo’s parents who arrived at Bristol Zoo in 2004 produced four eggs this year, two of which were fertile and of those one hatched.

Kylie said she hoped Bristol Zoo would go onto breed more Philippine cockatoo chicks in the future.

She said: “There are very intelligent birds and a very important species.”

As their name suggests they come from the Philippines where until 1950 they were common.

But they have since gone into a rapid decline with the population now estimated at between just 560 and 1,150.

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