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Rangers 'tickled pink' after flamingo lays first egg in 15 years at nature reserve

PUBLISHED: 11:46 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 10 September 2019

Chrissie Kelley, Head of Species Management at Pensthorpe at the dedicated Flamingo area of Pensthorpe Narural Park. Photo : Steve Adams

Chrissie Kelley, Head of Species Management at Pensthorpe at the dedicated Flamingo area of Pensthorpe Narural Park. Photo : Steve Adams

Steve Adams

For the very first time since arriving at a north Norfolk nature reserve 15 years ago, flamingos have finally laid an egg.

Greater Flamingos have laid an egg at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, for the first time in 15 years. Picture: PENSTHORPEGreater Flamingos have laid an egg at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, for the first time in 15 years. Picture: PENSTHORPE

The Greater Flamingos at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, were brought in more than a decade and a half ago but this is the only time an egg has been produced.

It comes following an increase of 20 to its existing flock of 29 last year - forming what experts call 'the magic number 40'.

The announcement was made via a blog post on the park's website.

It read: "We are tickled pink at the arrival of the first flamingo eggs here at Pensthorpe - the first in the 15 years since we have had Greater Flamingo here.

Greater Flamingos have laid an egg at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, for the first time in 15 years. Picture: PENSTHORPEGreater Flamingos have laid an egg at Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, for the first time in 15 years. Picture: PENSTHORPE

"It was our hope that by becoming a bigger flock they would eventually breed, so we are all thrilled that doubling their numbers has produced this result.

"Experts say that the 'magic number 40' can help to boost breeding rates amongst flamingos. Simply put, the larger the flock, the more likely the birds are to lay!"

READ MORE: Meet the new flamingos conservationists at Pensthorpe Natural Park are hoping will produce first ever egg



The egg was laid by a 14-year old female flamingo and the egg has been carefully swapped for a wooden 'dummy' egg in order to protect it. It is now being nurtured and cared for during the incubation process and will be returned to the nest shortly before hatching.

Children watching the lamingos at Pensthorpe Natural Park PICTURE: Steve AdamsChildren watching the lamingos at Pensthorpe Natural Park PICTURE: Steve Adams

Since then, more eggs have been laid and rangers say they "have their fingers crossed" as they wait to find out if any of them are fertile.

Work has been carried out on their enclosure, which is part of the park's new Wetland Discovery Area, to give the flamingos more space and to encourage good breeding conditions.

Head of species management, Chrissie Kelley, added: "Flamingos are wonderful birds and we have a great flock of them now at Pensthorpe.

"Obviously breeding conditions depend on many factors including the size and space of the enclosure and the ratio of males to females, but having 49 birds has presented a really exciting opportunity to see the possibility of having our own baby flamingos hatching in the Wensum Valley.

A flamingo in the Wetland Discovery Area habitat at Pensthorpe Natural Park PICTURE: Steve AdamsA flamingo in the Wetland Discovery Area habitat at Pensthorpe Natural Park PICTURE: Steve Adams

"We all hope that the eggs are fertile and that more eggs will be laid in the future."

Flamingos usually lay one egg that hatches after a 30-day incubation period.

Flamingos at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve keeping cool in the water. Picture: Ian BurtFlamingos at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve keeping cool in the water. Picture: Ian Burt

Group of Greater Flamingos enjoying the late afternoon sun at PensthorpeGroup of Greater Flamingos enjoying the late afternoon sun at Pensthorpe

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