Friday, September 14, 2007

ENV: Red Bird of Paradise

Rare red bird of paradise hatched at Houston Zoo staff report, 04:47 PM CDT on Thursday, September 13, 2007

A rare red bird of paradise, considered near-threatened in the wild, is being raised by its mother at the Houston Zoo. The chick hatched in the Zoo’s off exhibit breeding area following an incubation period of 17 days.

“This is a significant birth for the Houston Zoo,” said Houston Zoo Bird Curator Hannah Bailey. “Only three other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have red bird of paradise. Of those three, only one other zoo has successfully bred the birds this year.”

The chick fledged 17 days after hatching and its breeding is the first at the Zoo since 1978.

The bird is being raised by its mother and is receiving a diet of fruit, meal worms and crickets, and a nutritionally balanced pellet food.

Red birds of paradise are found on several small islands off the coast of Papua, the Indonesian governed western half of New Guinea. The species was almost harvested to extinction in the late 1800s when the birds distinctive tail plumage was used as fashionable hat décor.

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