The Cincinnati Zoo recently announced the hatching of a Raggiana Bird-of-paradise chick. This is the Zoo’s third chick, and they are one of only four facilities in the U.S. to breed and raise the species in the last ten years. Only eleven AZA zoos house this species.
According to the Cincinnati Zoo, the parents have a habit of breaking their eggs. In an effort to do what is best for the survival of the chick, keepers opted for “ghost rearing”. “Ghost rearing” involves a procedure of feeding the chick from behind a screen, to disguise where the food is coming from, and prevent the chick from imprinting with humans. The Zoo plans to re-introduce the chick to its parents, once it is weaned.
The Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) is only found on the island nation of New Guinea. Their native diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods, and the species is an important seed disperser of some fruiting trees in New Guinea.
The beautiful birds are best known for their extravagant courtship displays. They are unique in that they are a lekking species. Up to ten males at a time are known to congregate in leks (display arenas for visiting females) in an effort to impress a potential mate. Males put on a display, which involves clapping of their wings and shaking their heads.
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