Science

Watch this tiny extinct-in-the-wild bird hatch from the egg in all its cuteness

The female Guam kingfisher – one of the most endangered bird species on the planet – was born 14 days ago.

If you like small, cute things, you’ll love this.

Staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in the US have captured incredible footage of an extremely rare bird species hatching from its shell.

The female Guam kingfisher – which is a brightly coloured bird from the United States Territory of Guam – was born on May 17.

 

 

A female Guam kingfisher hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute May 17! Guam kingfishers are extinct in the wild, and there are only about 140 in human care. Keepers are hand-raising the chick to increase her chances of survival. #WeSaveSpecies MORE: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/news/extinct-wild-bird-hatches-smithsonian-conservation-biology-institute

Posted by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute on Thursday, May 31, 2018

They do not exist in the wild, making the Guam kingfisher the most endangered bird species on the planet.

There are about 140 of them in the world and they all live in human care, according to the SCBI.

The chick is being hand-raised after its parents failed to display “appropriate parenting behaviours”.

The chick four days after hatching (SCBI)

A closed-circuit camera inside the incubator was on hand to capture the exact moment the chick hatched, 22 days after fertilisation.

Weighing 5.89 grams at birth, the keepers had to feed it every two hours between 6am and 6pm to ensure her development.

During the incubation, the team candled – ie shone a light against the shell of the egg – to track her growth.

Guam kingfisher chick.
The chick will fledge when she is 30 days old (SCBI)

The chick is currently on a diet of chopped mice, crickets, mealworms and anoles and is expected to fly her “nest” when she is 30 days old.

Guam kingfishers are descended from 29 individuals. They were taken into human care 40 years ago as part of a breeding programme to save them from extinction.

The SCBI hatched its first chick in 1985 and since then, 19 chicks have followed as part of the institute’s Guam Kingfisher Species Survival Plan.

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