BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - New, yet wrinkled, a recently born chick at the Brevard Zoo may give new life to the survival of its species.
A wrinkled hornbill chick that hatched on April 12 emerged from its nest on June 8 at the zoo. Its sex is not yet known, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
The youngster is the fifth offspring at the zoo of female Morticia and male Gomez, both of whom are approximately 26 years old.
The bird is available for viewing in the Lands of Change, Australia and Beyond, area of the zoo.
"It doesn't seem to mind the spotlight," said Elliot Zirulnik, communications manager for the zoo.
The chick already is not too far short in height from its parents.
"They grow up quickly," Zirulnik said.
Prior to laying her eggs, the yet-to-be-named female wrinkled hornbill uses a mixture of fruit, feathers and feces to seal herself in a nesting cavity. Her mate delivers food through a tiny slit during the one-month incubation period and five week-to-three month nestling period.
“It’s been seven years since Morticia and Gomez had their last clutch, so we were hopeful for more chicks, but didn’t know if it was possible,” said Michelle Smurl, director of animal programs at the zoo. “The wrinkled hornbill’s population is decreasing, and this chick is a glimmer of hope for its species.”
Native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the wrinkled hornbill is considered endangered due to habitat loss. As seed dispersers, these birds play an important role in rainforest ecology.
The blue-throated macaw, which is critically endangered,also is housed at the zoo, along with two other endangered birds: the yellow-naped amazon and the yellow-headed amazon.
When the South American and Latin American area reopens as "Rainforest Revealed" around Thanksgiving, the red siskin also will be available for viewing.
According to Zirulnik, the Brevard Zoo will be the only zoo in the world that displays and breeds them.
Brevard Zoo is home to more than 900 animals representing 195 species from all over the world. More information is available at www.brevardzoo.org.
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