Unique-looking bird is one of many animals born during baby boom at San Antonio Zoo

Micronesian kingfisher believed to be extinct in the wild is part of baby boom

A very unique-looking baby bird was recently born at the San Antonio Zoo. Officials with the zoo said there’s been a baby boom ahead of Mother’s Day weekend with many new births, including an exceedingly rare Micronesian kingfisher which is believed to be extinct in the wild. The baby bird that looks like it has two targets in its mouth, however, is called a crested couca. An Instagram post from zoo officials noted that the target markings help encourage parents to feed the chicks and phase out as the bird gets older.

SAN ANTONIO – A very unique-looking baby bird was recently born at the San Antonio Zoo but it’s not alone.

Officials with the zoo said there’s been a baby boom ahead of Mother’s Day weekend with many new births, including an exceedingly rare Micronesian kingfisher which is believed to be extinct in the wild.

Zoo officials shared a picture of one baby bird that looks like it has two targets in its mouth. It’s called a crested couca and the zoo’s Instagram post said the target markings help encourage parents to feed the chicks and phase out as the bird gets older.

To celebrate the zoo’s baby boom, the nonprofit recently launched a Baby Shower fundraiser.

“I am overjoyed to announce these additions to our zoo family,” said San Antonio Zoo president and CEO Tim Morrow. “San Antonio Zoo is breeding species that are extinct in the wild and look forward to being a part of potential reintroductions.”

Zoo officials said two rare aquatic species of pupfish, which are both extinct in the wild, also gave birth at the zoo’s aquarium. So far for 2021, the aquarium team has seen the addition of 31 La Palma pupfish fry and 27 Charco Palma fry, and expect more throughout the summer season.

The last sighting of a La Palma pupfish in the wild was in 1994 and the Charco Palma pupfish hasn’t been seen in the wild since 1995.

“We live by our mission to love, engage with, act for, and protect all forms of wildlife, and what our animal departments accomplished this year is nothing less than spectacular,” said Morrow. “We are proud to be at the forefront of the conservation fight. It is through our actions today that we can ensure the survival of these species and help safeguard a future for generations to learn about and love these terrific animals.”

Other animals that have recently given birth at the San Antonio Zoo are listed below with their extinction classification. The nine categories of classification in ascending order are Not Evaluated, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct.

San Antonio Zoo Aviary Births

  • Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Least Concern)
  • Red Bird-of-paradise (Near Threatened)
  • Micronesian kingfisher (Extinct in the Wild)
  • Crested coua (Least Concern)
  • Fairy bluebird (Least Concern)
  • Wreathed hornbill (Least Concern)
  • Great blue turaco (Least Concern)

San Antonio Zoo Ectotherm Births

  • Armstrong dusky rattlesnakes (Least Concern)
  • Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko (Vulnerable)
  • Texas river cooter (Least Concern)
  • La Palma pupfish (Extinct in the Wild)
  • Charco Palma pupfish (Extinct in the Wild)
  • San Marcos redtail splitfin (Critically Endangered)
  • Degeni cichlid (Least Concern)
  • Baby-eater cichlid (Vulnerable)
  • Twig catfish (*Data Deficient)
  • Tarantsy cichlid (*Data Deficient)

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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.