Red-Capped Cardinal Chicks Hatch at Texas State Aquarium’s New Caribbean Journey

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Four red-capped cardinals chicks have hatched in the Texas State Aquarium’s new Caribbean Journey jungle. The chicks, currently in their fledgling stage, were hatched in a nest constructed by their parents in one of the exhibit’s live trees.

The eggs were incubated by the parents for approximately 15 days and hatched on June 25. The red-capped cardinal parents are now staying busy feeding the young birds. Staff is providing the parents with plenty of wax worms, crickets, mealworms and other tasty treats to pass on to their chicks and help them grow. Staff is also monitoring the fledglings and their parents several times a day to make sure they are all accounted for, are eating well, and are in good health. They report that so far, the parents are exceptionally attentive and have been taking outstanding care of the chicks.  It is estimated the red-capped cardinal fledglings will finish unfurling their flight feathers sometime in the next week. Over the next six months, they will develop the red plumage on their head that gives them their name.

The adult cardinals originally arrived as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Program (SSP). Red-capped cardinals are a yellow SSP program, meaning that they have at least 50 individuals in zoos and aquariums and less than 90 percent genetic diversity over the next 100 years. When the cardinal fledglings grow into adults, staff will coordinate with the SSP to determine an ideal location for the red-capped cardinals to live in and hopefully, hatch chicks of their own.

The red-capped cardinal nest may also soon serve as a home for other bird species. When the red-capped cardinals move out, other birds could settle down there, and soon, there could be even more chicks joining Caribbean Journey’s growing animal population.