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One of Taronga's Black-winged Stilt chicks

One of Taronga's Black-winged Stilt chicks. Photo by Tony Britt-Lewis

Taronga Zoo is celebrating the successful hatching of two Black-winged Stilt chicks, the first at the Zoo in more than a decade.

It was a case of third time lucky for Taronga’s Bird Keepers, who have been trying for three years to breed the long-legged species.

Last season the chicks’ parents produced infertile eggs, so keepers were delighted when three chicks hatched earlier this month. Sadly one of the three didn’t survive the precarious first weeks, but the remaining two chicks are healthy and developing well.

The pair is being raised off display under the watchful eye of their parents, enjoying a healthy diet of flies and mealworms.

“They’re doing really well, but remain quite shy. Whenever someone comes near the aviary they run to their parents or hide in the long grass,” said Senior Bird Keeper, Michael Shiels.

Taronga Zoo is part of a regional species management program for Black-winged Stilts.

A black and white wader bird with long orange-red legs and a straight black bill, the Black-winged Stilt is found in Australia, Central and South America, Africa, southern and south-eastern Asia and parts of North America and Eurasia.

A social species, they are usually found in small groups and prefer freshwater and saltwater marshes, mudflats, and the shallow edges of lakes and rivers. Both sexes incubate the eggs and look after the young.

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