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Chief Penguin
Musings from the Academy’s Global Ambassador

September 5, 2012

The Circle of Life, Rainforest-Style


Isn't he (she?) cute?

Read on for the story of the Academy’s thriving colony of violaceous euphonias, courtesy of our Rainforest biologists. The fledglings are really cute, as fledglings often are. And you thought we were just a bunch of penguins! Not so.

Violaceous euphonias (Euphonia violacea) have been a part of the Rainforest exhibit since opening. Breeding this species has been a goal for the Rainforest biologists, and we were able to confirm fertile eggs in our collection a few months ago. Just like the rest of the finches and tanagers in our exhibit, they feed on nectar, insects, and fruit. Only eight other institutions in the U.S. display this species. Among these eight institutions, only one chick has been hatched in the past 12 months.

In March, we acquired new male and female euphonias. After clearing quarantine and being released into the Rainforest exhibit, the pair began building a nest in a planted wall on the Costa Rica (top) level.

The female laid three eggs, and she incubated them for 15 days. During incubation the biologists candled the eggs, revealing that two of the three eggs were fertile. After the eggs hatched, the female juggled incubating the chicks, foraging for food, and feeding them.

A mere 18 days after hatching, the chicks were fully feathered and ready to leave the nest! At this time the male began encouraging them to leave the nest and also began feeding them.

Just a few days ago, the fledglings began attempting to eat solid food on their own. In about one week we expect the fledglings to be self-sufficient. The fledglings will be moved behind the scenes, then transferred to partner zoos/aquariums this fall, where they will eventually breed and start the circle of life over again.

Filed under: Uncategorized — gfarrington @ 11:03 am

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