L.A. Zoo Hatches First Successful Congo Peafowl in 20 Years

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Congo peafowl chick pictured on Dec. 6 provided by the L.A. Zoo (Credit: Tad Motoyama)

A Congo peafowl was hatched for the first in 20 years at the Los Angeles Zoo late last month, the park announced Friday.

The baby peafowl was born Nov. 22, but its gender is yet to be determined, according to the zoo. This chick is the first successful hatchling of a Congo peafowl at the facility since 1997.

The Congo peafowl is one of three peafowl species, according to the zoo. This species looks slightly different to it’s more familiar counterpart, the Indian peafowl, more commonly known as a peacock.

While the Indian peacock, another term for a male peafowl, has very long, immaculate feathers, the Congo peacock has shorter, but still beautiful, feathers that lack the “eye spots” commonly seen on the Indian peacock, and short white feathers adorn the male’s head like a crown.

Currently, North America has only 26 Congo peafowl across 10 institutions that are accredited with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program.

“This is a great example of one of the L.A. Zoo’s many successful conservation efforts,” Mike Maxcy, curator of birds at the zoo, said in a statement. “The number of Congo peafowl found in the wild is currently shrinking, and it is crucial now more than ever to have sustainable populations in North American zoos to help protect this bird from possible extinction.”

The zoo will not immediately display the Congo peafowl hatchling in order to allow the new chick to bond with its parents.

In the wild, the Congo peafowl would normally breed in their native spring time, which is winter time in Los Angeles. To overcome this, animal care staff constantly monitored the outside temperature and made adjustments to keep the birds comfortable and happy, according to the zoo’s news release.

The species is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Since these birds reside in dense forests, human activity such as mining, logging, agriculture and hunting threaten their population.

So far, there are between 2,000 and 9,000 left in the wild, and they’re all in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Correction: This post has been update to show the correct date for the peafowl’s birth.

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