The Highland Wildlife Park is celebrating the hatching of a Snowy Owl - the centre's first.
A Snowy Owl chick and two Capercaillie chicks were hatched to their feathered parents in early June this year. Known as an owlet, the snowy owl chick was hatched to mum Hedwig and dad Heinrich.
A dark grey at first, male snowy owls become pure white, but females always keep some dark markings. Keepers won’t know the sex of the new little owlet for at least another few weeks. Already though, the fluffy youngster has been making a few attempts at spreading its wings.
Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said: "Snowy owls are known for their graceful, silent flight, but our little owlet is definitely still learning.
"Its first few flights have been a bit haphazard - their prey would definitely hear it coming - however we’re sure he or she will soon be as competent as mum and dad.
"This little owlet is a very special bird as it’s the first one to be reared in the history of the Highland Wildlife Park. He, or she, has been growing at a great rate of knots, and is actually almost the same size as mum and dad, although it still looks very much like a chick because of its colouring."
There are other newly hatched birds at the Highland Wildlife Park which are also going from strength to strength. Capercaillies are native to Scotland, as well as being found in Spain, central Europe, Scandinavia and across Russia to northern Asia.
The biggest species of grouse in the world, the males weigh twice as much as the females when fully grown and the species are nicknamed the ‘horse of the woods’.
Mr Richardson continued: "We’ve recently reunited the family group at the Highland Wildlife Park. Male Capercaillies are notoriously aggressive, so the female had her own adjoining enclosure to incubate the eggs and start the chicks off. However, they’re all happily back together now and doing well.
"The birth of these two chicks is fantastic as capercaillie numbers have reduced drastically over the past few years, so much so that they are one of the most endangered species in the UK, and capercaillie is particularly delicate and hard to breed."