Wandering flock of flamingos greets visitors at Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Morning visitors to the Nashville Zoo will be delighted by twelve Chilean flamingos parading through the park, allowing zoogoers to interact with them.

You may have already seen the Caribbean flamingos at the Flamingo Lagoon. But, did you know there’s a wandering flock of Chilean flamingos that serve as zoo ambassadors? At 9:30a.m. almost every day, the flock walks through the park bringing smiles to everyone who meets them.

“We have twelve here, eight of them were actually hatched at the zoo,” explained Alison Day, Nashville Zoo Ambassador Animal Keeper. “Four of them came from the Columbus Zoo. They all range in age from 3 and 1/2-years-old to 14-years-old.”

Because they are Chilean flamingos, some of them are named with an appropriate play on words.

“All the younger ones who came from the Nashville Zoo, they’re named after peppers,” said Day. “And then our older birds already had names that they came with. So, I’ll point them all out. We’ve got Ghost here. We’ve got Maddy and Marty. They’re paired together. We have Jalapeno here. Aji. We have Eli and Shorty. We have Paprika, Pablano, Habanero. And behind me, Chilaca and Cayenne.”

Day said Nashville zoo has hand raised the chicks, making them friendly ambassadors, “As soon as they turned about a week old, we started walking them in front of people, getting them used to noises and new things. So, that way they’d be de-sensitized to all that. So, now as adults, they’ve become really great ambassadors.”

The number one question that people ask, “What makes flamingos pink?”

“These flamingos eat krill, which is a small type of shrimp that’s found in the water,” Day explained. “And the pigments in the krill is actually what turns their feathers pink. So, it actually takes about two to three years for that to happen. So, you’ll notice some of our older birds, like over here, he’s a little more bright pink because he’s a little bit older.”

Visitors will get to enjoy these ambassadors for many years to come.

“These flamingos will actually live upwards of fifty years,” said Day. “So, they are very young.”

News 2 has partnered with Nashville Zoo to bring you weekly segments of Zoopalooza. You can watch them on News 2 on Good Morning Nashville on Saturday and right here on WKRN.com.

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