Barry White helps flamingos breed

Seductive love songs by the "Walrus of Love" Barry White have helped encourage breeding among a group of Chilean flamingos.

Classic tunes by the late Grammy Award-winning soul singer have been piped through their enclosure at Drusillas Park in Alfriston, East Sussex, in an effort to make love blossom.

Staff at the park also played songs by Marvin Gaye alongside pre-recorded mating vocalisations to conjure up a courtship between the flamingos.

Now their efforts have paid off following the hatching of a chick to parents Maurice and Gabriella. The birth has overjoyed keepers who said it will help boost dwindling numbers of the threatened species.

Populations have declined in the wild mainly due to water pollution, interference in their wetland habitats, and human activity near breeding sites which leads to birds abandoning their nests.

The arrival of the chick marks the first successful flamingo hatching at Drusillas Park since 2009.

Zoo manager Sue Woodgate said: "We are absolutely delighted with the progress of the flamingo chick.

"I was lucky enough to be at the enclosure when it hatched. The keepers and I were so excited to see the little grey flamingo emerge from its shell under the watchful eye of its parents."

The baby flamingo bears a resemblance to an ugly duckling, hatching with grey downy feathers. Flamingos turn pink because of the pigmentation in the food they eat, such as shrimps, a zoo spokeswoman said.

Keepers are hoping for another baby soon, as their flamingos are sitting on a further three eggs which could hatch in up to three weeks following a 27 to 31-day incubation period.