pink pigeon adopted by dovesA flock of doves at Bristol Zoo have taken on the challenge of becoming foster parents – and raised a group of endangered Mauiritius pink pigeons.

Different pairs of Barbary doves took on the job of hatching the rare pigeons after their own mum proved unreliable at incubating the eggs.

The female pink pigeon had recently arrived to the zoo’s sister attraction, Wild Place Project, in the hope she would pass on her valuable genes.

After hatching, the doves fed the pink pigeon chicks as if they were their own, despite them growing to be larger and a different colour to themselves.

In a further twist, the fifth youngster was raised by another threatened species – a pair of Mindanao bleeding heart doves, which originate from the Philippines.

Wild Place manager Will Walker said: “Like all pigeons, it’s not unusual for some pink pigeons to be distracted from their parental duties.

“However, each egg is incredibly precious and, crucially, each chick represents valuable genetic diversity for the species.”

The island of Mauritius is located around 2,000km off the southeast coast of Africa, and was notably the home of another rare bird, the now extinct dodo.

In the early 1990s, the pink pigeon population had declined to fewer than 20 birds remaining in the Mauritian forests.


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