They may look a little bit like your common or garden variety but four of the world’s rarest ducklings have hatched at Chester Zoo.
The quartet of white-winged ducks - a species listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN) - were caught on camera for the first time enjoying their first dip with mum.
Chester Zoo is one of just a handful of zoos in Europe that works with the Asian ducks.
Experts fear that wild numbers may be as low as just 350 individuals - a result of widespread habitat destruction throughout South East Asia, where the ducks were once found in abundance.
Related story: Chester Zoo visitor witness capybara give birth
Curator of birds Andrew Owen said: “With the white-winged duck teetering on the edge of extinction, these hatchlings are an important step in the right direction for the species. The new ducklings are vital additions to the endangered species breeding programme,which is ensuring a genetically viable insurance population in zoos should the unthinkable happen and the ducks become lost from the wild.”
The new arrivals take the number of white-winged ducks at the zoo to eight.
White-wing duck facts
1. White-winged ducks were historically widely distributed from north-eastern India and Bangladesh, through South-East Asia to Sumatra and Java, Indonesia.
2. The ducks live in stagnant or slow-flowing wetlands, within or adjacent to evergreen, deciduous or swamp forests. They depend on these areas for roosting and nesting, usually in tree-holes.