Two highly endangered red-billed curassow chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo in England in what has been hailed as “significant moment” for the species.
Fewer than 250 of the birds, which are endemic to eastern Brazil, remain in the wild and Chester Zoo described them as “one of the world's rarest bird species".
“This is such a significant moment for us and for the species,” said Andrew Owen, curator of birds at the zoo.
“These magnificent birds are on the verge of becoming extinct in the wild, with estimates of less than 250 left.”
The bird is dependent on the Atlantic rainforest, which has dwindled to an estimated 7 per cent of its previous size, the World Land Trust says.
Mr Owen said the species is declining “due to habitat loss, forest fragmentation and deforestation".
“When we saw that the parents had produced eggs, we were overjoyed, but we quickly noticed that the female wasn't sitting on them and, with the birds being so rare, we just couldn't take any chances,” he said.
“We stepped in and decided to artificially incubate them ourselves. Once hatched, we carefully returned the chicks to the parent birds for rearing and they were quickly welcomed back into the family.
“These two chicks are very important additions to the global population and the conservation efforts to help save this unique species from extinction.”
The bird prefers humid lowland forests and spends most of its time on the forest floor, leaving it vulnerable to predators.