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