I'm sorry mum! Flamingo chick is in trouble after getting his feathers muddy
Two-week-old chick took first steps outside the nest in a reserve in CubaWildlife photographer Andrey Gudkov spent a day watching the pair bond
23:37 GMT, 30 December 2012
Any mother would despair at seeing their child covered in mud.
And this flamingo was no different.
She gave her chick a stern look when he came back to the nest with dirt all over his white feathers.
Who's a naughty boy This mucky flamingo chick, pictured with his mother, was covered in mud after taking its first steps out of the nest
But her anger didn't last as, before long, the chick snuggled up in his mother's feathers and enjoyed a bite to eat.
At just two weeks old, the flamingo
chick had been taking his first steps out of the nest among the 80,000
strong colony of birds in Rio Maximo national reserve in Cuba.
It spent half an hour slipping and
sliding around in mud as he tried to scramble back to the nest before
its mother noticed he was gone.
Photographer Andrey Gudkov spent a day watching the pair bond.
The mother flamingo would collect food in her beak from a nearby brook before returning to feed her son.
Mucky: The flamingo chick spent half-an-hour slipping and sliding around in the mud
Feeding time! The chick ate a pureed dinner of plankton, shrimp and tiny fish from his mother's bill
Mr Gudkov, 40, said: ‘This mum and baby caught my eye because they were a bit separated from the other flamingos.
‘We were able to sit right inside the colony as flamingos aren't afraid of people.
‘But we still had to arrive before sunrise and leave after sunset, sitting motionless in the mud so we didn't disturb them.
‘The mother left the nest to feed and refresh herself, before coming back to feed the youngster.
‘I could hear them chattering away the whole time they were together.
‘When the mother returned, the chick would stand up, open his beak and ask for food.’
Each feeding session lasted a few seconds as the chick enjoyed a pureed dinner of plankton, shrimp and tiny fish from his mother's bill.
Bonding: Wildlife photographer Andrey Gudkov said he spent a day watching the pair and how they interacted
In time, this diet will bring out the flamingo's pink colour.
Mr Gudkov, a marine biology graduate, added: ‘After the chick is fed, it normally sleeps and the mother covered her baby with her wings to protect him from the heat.
‘I was interested in the one-to one feeding process and seeing how the flamingos interacted.
‘I loved the geometry of their long legs and necks, compared with the petite chick.
‘Their relationship made for a very tender picture showing how the big bird communicates with the small, weak chick.’
Mr Gudkov, a professional wildlife photographer from Moscow, Russia, was joined by a group of scientists in Rio Maximo national reserve, Cuba.
Each Spring, up to 100,000 flamingos fly in from the Caribbean to nest here.