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Maryland Zoo welcomes two new baby chicks

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Zoo announced Tuesday that two Von der Decken's Hornbill chicks hatched last month.  

The two-week-old chicks hatched in early July, and won't be visible to the public for several weeks. That's because of the mother bird's nesting instinct, which is to mud up the nest until the chicks are large enough, according to the zoo. 

The baby chicks were briefly removed from the nest so avian specialists can check their weight and health.  Maryland Zoo

Right now, the nest only has an entrance for the male bird to bring in food, but eventually, the mother will need to open the nest to bring the growing chicks food as well.  

The birds, named after German explorer Baron Karl Klaus Von der Decken, are found in scrubby woodlands and dry savanna across eastern Africa. Their diet is a mixture of fruits, bugs, meats and vegetables.  

"We first brought Von der Decken's to the Maryland Zoo in 2012 and have had success with our breeding pair and the offspring of these striking, highly social birds," said Jen Kottyan, the zoo's Curator of Birds. 

 "They're easy to spot with hooked beaks and white and black feathers," Kottyan continued. "The female has a black beak while the male has a bright orange beak. They are all very agile flyers."   


The birds can usually be seen in the African Aviary along the African Watering Hole Boardwalk, but the aviary is currently closed as a biosecurity measure against the avian flu. The zoo closed its aviaries in March. 

To learn more about the hatching of the two Von der Decken's Hornbill chicks and when they will be available for the public contact 410-396-7102.  

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