Chester Zoo is celebrating the arrival of two west African black-crowned crane chicks – the first of their kind to hatch in a UK zoo this year.

The rare chicks – listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – arrived after a 30-day incubation period.

Only 15,000 black-crowned cranes are estimated to remain in their native west Africa.

Curator of birds Andrew Owen said: “This is a very significant breeding – the first in the UK this year. 

“Currently the chicks are small, yellow and fluffy and it’s hard to believe they’ll grow up to look as striking and unusual as mum and dad. But soon enough they’ll develop golden feathers on top of their heads that almost resemble a Roman helmet.

“Already the young are very confident and capable of foraging with their parents.

 Cranes are also known for their elaborate dances, and our young chicks are already capable of some nifty moves.”

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