DENVER (CBS4) – With just a few days before Denver’s PrideFest celebrations, the Denver Zoo is sharing the love story of a same-sex pair in their flock. The flamboyant flamingos are named after two LGBTQ+ icons — *NSYNC band member Lance Bass and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

(credit: Denver Zoo)

Among the nearly 80 birds in the exhibit, the Bird keeper Brittney Weaver says the two have always been the standouts.

“They have plenty of choices to choose from so we can’t really control what they choose,” she said.

Freddy Mercury is a Caribbean flamingo brought to the zoo in 1970, and Lance Bass, a Chilean flamingo, hatched in Denver in 2001.

(credit: CBS)

“So this happened in 2014 that we stared 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 we knew,” weaver said.

While the male-to-male pairing is rare, it is not unheard of. The two species coming together, she says, is unique.

A bit of a surprise to visitors like Kindle Flicek.

“I had no idea, and I’m a biologist,” she laughed. “That’s pretty neat.”

(credit: CBS)

While the bonded birds cannot have a chick of their own, 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.

As far as their names, Weaver says 14 years with the flock and her passion for music just took over.

“All the flamingos are named after musicians,” she said. “But these guys we wanted to name them appropriately for their relationship.”

(credit: CBS)

The real Lance Bass shared the story on Facebook, writing: “This is the best!! I hope Lance is the one w the frosted tips!!!”

Denver Zoo officials responded, “Hey Lance, Freddie’s on the left and flamingo Lance is on the right, so he kind of does have dyed tips!”

Zoo officials also said they are planning a special a flamingo-themed event in August and invited Bass to attend.

Comments (19)
  1. Doug Bradford Smith says:

    There are hundreds of examples of same sex pairing in the animal kingdom. It is not unusual. We have or did have a same sex pair of penguins in the Central Park Zoo. It is normal for animals and humans who are just more advanced creatures.

  2. Again, we are taking very small percentages

  3. Daniel Mewhinney says:

    Hah! That’s amazing, and cute.

  4. thats disgusting i dont want to hear about this sickening mental disorder,,its not natural…why is this news on Drudge report???????

  5. Oh. They’re friends which means they’re ‘gay?’

  6. Reginald Winthorp says:

    But unlike humans, they cannot petition to a court to adopt other flamingos to make up for inability to procreate.

  7. Sandra Isrow says:

    There’s is probably a perfectly logical reason why the 2 males are fond of each other and seriously doubt they engage in any kind of physical mating. Probably some kind of gene mutation..

  8. Rob Williams says:

    This story is gay.

  9. Dave Ray says:

    There’s a word for projecting human emotions and actions onto animals or things: Anthropomorphising. We have no idea what’s going on in the minds of those flamingos, and we can’t ask them.

  10. Andy Rem says:

    Shocking? Not really,…most of us already knew that Flamingos were gay!

  11. Is it possible that the two birds are not capable of breeding and they are aware of it.

  12. Cosmo Ruckaz Demeester says:

    I saw to roosters sitting side by side in the hen house, Gay.

  13. Sien Mc Schwink says:

    Yeah right. More FAKE NEWS.

  14. Gary Kaplan says:

    I would have named one of the birds Ryan Seacrest…

  15. Tim Bresnahan says:

    I have a gay goldfish – we should celebrate!

  16. OMG really? Maybe the writer should look at their own story for why this isn’t a “natural” event.

    “Obviously the two males can’t have a chick of their own”

  17. Frank Papcin says:

    how do you know that they are gay?– are they having sex with each other? –is the females around for them to chose otherwise? — this person’s glaring perversion is obvious

  18. Sam Jones says:

    Everyone and everything is gay–it’s totally normal. I saw two ants crawling over each other the other day–I guess they were gay, too.

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