Denver Zoo Introduces Same-Sex Flamingo Couple, Freddie Mercury And Lance Bass

Denver Zoo officials took to social media this week to introduce a same-sex flamingo couple, whom they have named Freddie Mercury and Lance Bass.

They posted a photo of the two birds, both named after iconic, queer singers, to the zoo's official Facebook page on Tuesday.

"While these two males won't be able to have a chick of their own," the zoo wrote, "they are able to act as surrogate parents if a breeding pair is unable to raise their chick for any reason."

Did you know that Denver Zoo is home to a same sex flamingo couple? Chilean flamingo Lance Bass and American flamingo...

Posted by Denver Zoo on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The zoo reportedly featured the pair with LGBT Pride Month in mind.

In an interview with CBS Denver, birdkeeper Brittney Weaver explained that "This happened in 2014 that we started noticing them hanging out and spending a lot of time together. Then we saw them participating in all those courtship behaviors, and then when they finally built that nest, that's when we knew."

Freddie Mercury is a American flamingo who was apparently brought to the zoo in 1978, while Lance Bass is a Chilean flamingo who hatched in Denver in 2001, CNN said.

While the bonded birds cannot have a chick of their own, as the zoo's Facebook post suggests, they can act as surrogate parents.

"If there is a genetically valuable chick that we want to ensure its survival, we can kind of swap the chick around and give it to more experienced pairs," Weaver said.

Apparently, same-sex matches are not uncommon in the animal kingdom. In 2015, BBC reported that domesticated sheep and Laysan albatrosses show lifelong homosexual preferences, while macaques may be bisexual.

Two male penguins named Sphen and Magic at Australia's Sea Life Sydney Aquarium became parents after they were given a foster egg to incubate, The New York Times reported in early 2019.

Weaver added that all of the zoo's flamingos are named after musicians and that zoo staff "wanted to name them [Freddie and Lance] appropriately for their relationship."

Former NSYNC bassist Lance Bass shared the story on Twitter and wrote that it was the "Best story of the day!" on Tuesday.

Caribbean flamingos
A pair of Caribbean flamingos extend their necks during courtship at the Saitama Children's Zoo in Higashimatsuyama, Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo on March 14, 2012. YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images