Cassowaries may have eaten too much fruit
A flightless bird called a cassowary has laid three brightly coloured eggs at Paignton Zoo just ahead of Easter.
The zoo’s female Southern cassowary, named Twiggy, pushed out the outsized eggs on Sunday. Cassowary eggs are normally green so keepers were astonished to find brightly coloured eggs hidden in a shallow nest.
Cassowaries love fruit, and most are predominantly frugivorous. The vast majority of their diet consists of vegetation, fruit, berries, insects, spiders and small vertebrate. They are the second largest bird species in the world and are related to ostriches, emus and rheas. Females are typically larger and heavier than the males.
Egg-hunting this Easter (courtesy: Paignton Zoo)
It is now possible the cassowary chicks could be multi-coloured when the eggs hatch. With cassowaries, incubation of eggs is undertaken by the males for around 50 days whilst the females put their claws up.
The Southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) is classed as vulnerable by the IUCN, facing threats of habitat loss due to deforestation and hunting. Paignton Zoo is involved in the European ex-situ breeding programme (EEP) for the species.
Paignton Zoo is part of Wild Planet Trust. They are both registered charities striving to conserve species and habitats, and to inspire and empower people to help in the fight to protect wildlife. For more information visit www.paigntonzoo.org.uk and www.wildplanettrust.org.uk.