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The ugly baby that has the "Aah!" factor

This pink-backed pelican chick will grow into its looks Credit: Birdland Park and Gardens

A pink-backed pelican chick has hatched at Birdland Park and Gardens in Gloucestershire for the first time in recent memory.

Keepers at the Bourton-on-the-Water wildlife attraction say the chick, which was born at the end of November, is doing well.

The chick, which was hatched in an incubator, is being hand-reared by keeper Alistair Keen who is having to feed it five times a day on a diet of finely chopped fish, water and vitamins.

Alistair Keen is hand-rearing the youngster Credit: Birdland Park and Gardens

Although the chick was born featherless its first set of downy feathers are already beginning to come through and the pelican, which has yet to be named, will soon be moved out of the incubator to continue its development under a heat light.

In the wild there’s a high mortality rate among pelican chicks so we took the decision to carefully remove the egg and hatch it in an incubator.

Even as its surrogate father I have to say it’s not the prettiest looking newborn ever but its feathers are already starting to appear and it won’t be long before it’s covered in down and will look a lot cuter.

– Alistair Keen, Birdland Park and Gardens

Pink-backed pelicans are found in Africa, southern Arabia and India. They get their name from the fact that some individuals have a pinkish colouring to the feathers on their backs.

The birds have a wingspan of close to two-metres and their beaks can be nearly 40 centimetres long.

Parents usually lay one to three eggs, but chick mortality is often high due to sibling aggression. They fledge after 84 days.

A precious handful Credit: Birdland Park and Gardens