Posted January 2017
The Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of two new species to its bird collection: a pair of Hamerkops and a Shama thrush. The 1-year-old female Hamerkop comes to us from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, while the 14-year-old male came from the ABQ BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque. Hamerkops are active, resourceful birds who build enormous, domed nests utilizing any materials they can find—they will incorporate gloves, towels, tools and anything else keepers or visitors may leave behind! Their nests can become so large, they can reach five feet across and be strong enough to support the weight of an adult person. There are currently fewer than 100 individuals in North American zoos, and our new residents at the Zoo are recommended to breed for the Species Survival Plan® (SSP).
Our other new feathered resident, a Shama thrush, is a 2-year-old male who came to us from Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina. This species is native to southeast Asia and some Indonesian islands, although populations have more recently been established in Taiwan and Hawaii. Weighing only around an ounce, the Shama thrush may be small but can be quite fierce and territorial, particularly during breeding times. It is best known for its rich, melodious voice that it frequently uses to mimic the calls of other species. Shama thrush typically nest in densely-vegetated bamboo forests. The Zoo may introduce a mate for this bird in the future.
The Hamerkops are currently on exhibit in the East Flight area of the Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary, and the Shama thrush will be going on exhibit in the next few weeks. On your next visit, stop by the Aviary and watch the Hamerkops constructing their impressive nests, or see if you can pick out the Shama thrush’s beautiful call.