1. ITV Report

Zoo's delight at hatching of not-so-pretty polly

Month-old Jessie is being cared for round-the-clock in a Tupperware tub. Photo: Chester Zoo

This unusual looking creature will one day grow up to be a rare and beautiful attraction at Chester Zoo.

Described as a "cross between a dinosaur and a plucked chicken", the month-old hyacinth parrot is being hand-reared round-the-clock by keepers after being hatched in an incubator.

Jessie is fed a special mixture of powdered vitamins every two hours between 6am until 11pm. Credit: Chester Zoo

But the chick is "doing really well" and in adulthood will reach a metre in height.

Keepers have given the new arrival the unisex name Jessie, as they will have to wait until it develops feathers to find out the sex of the baby bird from DNA analysis.

Jessie will be hand fed for around three months until the bird is weaned and can feed by itself. Credit: Chester Zoo

"It’s hard to believe that our chick will eventually start to spring some beautiful deep blue feathers," said keeper Karen Neech, who feeds the bird up to nine times a day in its temporary Tupperware tub home.

"But with all of the care and attention we’re giving, it’s growing bigger and stronger by the day."

Native to Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, hyacinth macaws are the world’s largest parrot but an endangered species.

Hyacinth macaws have a naturally slow reproductive rate, heightening the threat to the endangered birds. Credit: Chester Zoo

Wild populations have undergone rapid reductions in recent years due to the illegal pet trade and habitat loss as a result of land clearance for cattle ranching.

Keeper Karen hailed the importance of Jessie's arrival, saying:

The hatching of this chick is a major step forward in our efforts to ensure a healthy insurance population of these stunning birds exists in zoos.

On top of that, the skills that the bird keeping team develop whilst hand-rearing the chick at the zoo can be applied to our conservation programmes in the wild - something we’ve been able to do successfully with species such as the endangered echo parakeet in Mauritius.