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16/04/2019

Two Kea chicks hatch at Bristol Zoo Gardens

This is a rare glimpse of a kea chick that has hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Few people get to see keas like this because for the first two months of their lives they remain deep within their nest watched over by their parents.

But this chick, one of two that hatched at Bristol Zoo two weeks ago, was taken out of its nesting box for a few minutes so keepers could attach tiny identification rings to its legs and check its weight.

Trevor Franks, curator of birds at Bristol Zoo, said: “Kea chicks hatch with only a fine covering of white down but they quickly grow and are soon covered in grey fluffy feathers.

“They remain this way until they develop their distinctive green and red plumage but can be easily distinguished from adults by their bright yellow eye rings and nostrils.”

Trevor said staff at the zoo were monitoring whether the chicks were being fed regularly and as long as all is well they do not intervene.

Keas are alpine parrots and are found in New Zealand but they are vulnerable for several reasons, mainly because they nest on the ground and are preyed upon by possums, rats and stoats that man has introduced.

Bristol Zoological Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents. 

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