Houston

Houston Zoo names two new flamingos Astro and Orbit

Flamingos are born grey or white and have small and straight bills. It can take up to three years for the chicks to reach their mature pink color.

Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo has welcomed two new chicks to its flamingo exhibit: Astro and Orbit.

For the first time in six years, the Houston Zoo welcomed two new Chilean Flamingos. Their Houston-inspired names will forever make them part of the city — Astro and Orbit, after the city’s Major League Baseball team and mascot.

Ric Urban, Houston Zoo’s Birds Curator said this has been the longest stretch the zoo has gone without new chicks.

“Breeding and nesting typically happen annually if the environmental conditions around the habitat are right,” Urban said. “Over the past few years with the growth of the zoo, this may have influenced nesting activity in this habitat.”

Urban said the zoo wanted to celebrate the Houston Astros going six years in a row to the post season.

“The Houston Astros are Houston's team!” he said in an emailed statement. “…we are all excited to see them doing well. This is the Houston Zoo's way of celebrating and supporting our hometown team by naming the new chicks – Astro and Orbit.”

Flamingos are born grey or white and have small and straight bills. It can take up to three years for the chicks to reach their mature pink color, which they get from their high carotenoid diet which is a pigment found in the food they eat.

The Houston Zoo is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium and participates in its Species Survival Plan for Chilean Flamingos.

“It's important to note these new additions add to the genetic diversity of the overall population of flamingos in North American zoos and aquariums.,” Urban said. “We have a mature population in our flock and adding new individuals is wonderful in maintaining a large successful flock for our future.”

According to Houston Zoo, guests can see the two new chicks along with other flamingos at the zoo, or online at the Zoo’s Flamingo Cam.

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