Posted January 2017
We have a new fledgling in the Herb and Nada Mahler Family Aviary! This most recent chick—a female—is the fifth surviving chick for our breeding pair of black-naped fruit doves, which has been in the Zoo’s collection since 2012. According to zookeepers, the pair are extremely good parents. As is common in many bird species, the male and female black-naped fruit doves look different from one another, with the male having the black marking on the nape of the neck while the females and juvenile birds have entirely green plumage. This allows keepers to determine the sex of the chicks fairly early once their feathers come in.
The black-naped fruit dove is common throughout its range in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and other Pacific Islands. They are considered of least concern (or not under threat) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Dove species typically lay only one or two eggs at a time – what is referred to as a “clutch.” While they have a typical lifespan of just 4-6 years in the wild, this species may live up to 25 years in captivity. The first male and female black-naped fruit doves in the Zoo’s collection were wild born individuals; now, all are captive born.
Currently there are two males and two females: the adult breeding pair and their male and female offspring. The male chick hatched in 2015 and is planned for transfer to the Bronx Zoo, while the female hatched last month and will remain here until mature. The black-naped fruit dove chick develops quickly, becoming fully feathered and capable of flight in only a couple of weeks – however, she will take several more months to reach full size and develop adult plumage.
The Zoo’s black-naped fruit doves are on exhibit in the rainforest area of the Aviary, in Tropic 3. Stop by and see if you can catch our new chick practicing her flight skills.