Gay flamingo couple Hudson and Blaze foster their first chick


gay flamingo couple two dads hudson blaze uk zoo
Image: Whipsnade Zoo

A gay Flamingo couple at a UK zoo have taken a baby flamingo under the wing after it was abandoned by its biological parents.

Zookeepers at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire in the east of England noticed the egg was left behind when its parents abandoned the nest.

They initially put the egg in an incubator to help it survive. However they decided the chick’s best chance would be to find a pair of adoptive parents.

They then allowed gay flamingo couple Hudson and Blaze to become foster dads for the first time.

Zookeepers knew the same-sex flamingos had a great track record of caring for their shared nest together.

Once they gave the two males the egg, they cared for it until it hatched. Keepers haven’t yet named the chick, as they need to wait to discover the young bird’s sex.

Whipsnade Zoo’s bird team leader Tim Savage explained flamingos Hudson and Blaze were exemplary parents.

“After the chick hatched in their nest, they sat with it for two weeks,” he said.

“[They kept] it warm and protected it from other flamingos, who often squabble and shove around different nest sites.”

gay flamingo couple hudson blaze two gay dads same-sex couple foster chick uk zoo

Gay flamingo couples aren’t unusual among the birds

Same-sex couples aren’t unusual among groups of flamingos, known collectively as a flamboyance.

Whipsnade Zoo has had others in the past, as well as throuples, with three parents caring for nests, Savage explained.

In flamingos, both male and female parents can produce the bright red “crop milk” the babies need.

It’s made in the flamingos’ digestive tract and is regulated by the same hormone responsible for milk in mammals.

“You can often spot the new parents in a group,” zookeeper Tim Savage said.

“Because they give so much of their own pigment to their chicks that they almost turn white.”

Hudson and Blaze are following in the footsteps of gay flamingo dads Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury, who paired up for several years and also fostered chicks at Denver Zoo in Colorado.

But sadly, in a Pride Month Facebook post in June, the zoo broke the news that the flamingos, one Chilean and one American, had split.

“Both Freddie and Lance are in good health. They weren’t separated and their break up was amicable,” the zoo explained to heartbroken Facebook followers.

“Our flock allows our birds to choose who they decide to form associations with. We’re happy to celebrate their pairings this month and every month. Happy Pride!”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    11 August 2022
    Reply

    A good news story!!

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