Auckland Zoo's new baby flamingo in the pink

Staff at Auckland Zoo have been tickled pink by their latest addition: a flamingo chick.

The chick arrived in the world this month, but zookeepers have yet to determine its sex - and it will be a few months before visitors get a glimpse of it.

Michael Batty, formerly the zoo's exotic birds team leader, raised and brought the zoo's flock of greater flamingos to New Zealand in 2001 from a sanctuary in England.

Batty teamed up with Pridelands team leader Nat Sullivan to hatch the chick.

"The chick was taking longer than usual to hatch, so we decided to give it a helping hand by very carefully removing some of its egg shell," Batty said.

It was a difficult and delicate task, he said, but fortunately the chick welcomed the assistance.

Sullivan, who has been monitoring the chick's progress since incubation, said the bird was now "doing really well".

"It's steadily getting bigger and more vocal, and is even starting to stand on one leg," he said.

"It's certainly been keeping us busy with regular feedings and check-ups, but of course none of us mind, it's a really cool little chick and great to see it improving every day."

Auckland Zoo has welcomed a new flamingo chick. Photo / Emma Wells
Auckland Zoo has welcomed a new flamingo chick. Photo / Emma Wells

Young flamingos lack the pink feathering for which the birds are famed.

This pink plumage develops over their first three years, due to the carotenoid pigment in the birds' diet, which is high in alpha and beta-carotene; humans take in beta-carotene when they eat carrots.

In 2014, the zoo made headlines for being the first in Australasia to breed greater flamingo chicks, as well as the first zoo in the world to successfully breed from an entirely hand-reared flock.

- NZ Herald

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