January 11, 2019
A Squab Named Stormy
- as seen by -Leela Samaroo
At WCS’s Bronx Zoo Pheasant Aviary, visitors can find brilliantly colored Mariana fruit-doves (Ptilinopus roseicapilla) on exhibit in the warmer months. Despite their vivid plumage, they blend easily into the lush foliage staying hidden in plain sight. Unfortunately, these doves are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the wild. Mariana fruit-doves are threatened due to habitat loss and the introduction of predators like the brown tree snake brought to Guam and the Mariana’s Islands during World War II. The species is now extinct on Guam and populations on the other islands are steadily declining. Multiple zoos in the United States, including the Bronx Zoo, are involved in the breeding of these doves to help conserve them.
This past summer, our dove pair had a successful hatch on August 12. Unlike most other dove and pigeon species that lay two eggs, Mariana fruit-doves only lay one egg. These birds invest a great deal of time and effort raising a single squab. Thankfully, our pair has had success in previous years producing multiple offspring and were great parents to our newest addition.
In just 14 days, a young dove squab becomes a fledgling and, shortly after, is self-reliant. During our squab’s first days, heavy rainstorms hindered its exploration of the exhibit. Once the weather passed, it became a very independent juvenile, and we named the little bird Stormy (above, counterclockwise, at seven days, 14 days, and one month with adult).