Rare bird, extinct in the wild, born at San Antonio Zoo

Micronesian Kingfishers are notoriously picky about their partners

On July 4th, San Antonio Zoo’s Aviculture Department successfully hatched a Micronesian Kingfisher chick for the first time in 5 years. (San Antonio Zoo)

SAN ANTONIO – An exceptionally rare bird has just been born at the San Antonio Zoo and it’s a big win for conservationists who say only about 140 are known to exist in human care.

San Antonio Zoo officials said a Micronesian Kingfisher, which is known to be extinct in the wild, was successfully hatched on July 4.

This is the first time a successful Micronesian Kingfisher hatching has occurred at the zoo in five years.

“I am so very proud of our Animal Care Specialists for all their hard work, dedication, and passion they bring to zoo daily,” said San Antonio Zoo president Tim Morrow. “This significant hatching is a result of the excellent care the animals receive and are key to continuing our mission of securing a future for wildlife.”

A press release from the zoo states that Micronesian Kingfishers are notoriously picky about their partners but the mating pair responsible for the new hatching was introduced in March and “hit it off right away.”

Micronesian Kingfishers are small, forest-dwelling birds that eat insects and small lizards as opposed to the kingfishers native to Texas which live around water and feed on fish.

The Micronesian Kingfishers at San Antonio Zoo can bee found at the Hixon Bird House.

Here’s a Micronesian Kingfishers history lesson, courtesy of San Antonio Zoo:

This species was native only to the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. After World War II, fighter planes returning state-side used Guam as a landing and refueling station before continuing their journey. At least one of these planes had a stowaway, the Brown Tree Snake, literally SNAKES ON A PLANE. Having no natural predators of its own, the Brown Tree Snake rapidly multiplied and spread across the island in the 1950s. The native wildlife had never seen snakes before and did not recognize them as a threat, so these snakes were able to easily eat adult birds, chicks, and eggs right out of nests. By 1980, 6 of the 8 endemic species to Guam were completely extinct. Brown Tree Snakes are still widespread on Guam despite eradication efforts. At one time, Guam had the highest concentration of snakes anywhere in the world.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.