Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury, two flamingos at the Denver Zoo, have been a couple for several years

By Rachel DeSantis
June 12, 2019 12:57 PM
Credit: Denzer Zoo

Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury are making sweet music together as a long-term couple ⁠— at least, in the animal kingdom.

Two male flamingos at the Denver Zoo named after the famous musicians have been a couple for several years, and could one day potentially become parents to a chick.

“Did you know that Denver Zoo is home to a same-sex flamingo couple?” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “Chilean flamingo Lance Bass and American flamingo Freddie Mercury have paired up for several years.”

The zoo continued, “While these two males won’t be able to have a chick of their own, they are able to act as surrogate parents if a breeding pair is unable to raise their chick for any reason,” the zoo wrote, adding the hashtags “Pride” and “Zoo for all.”

Revealing Lance and Freddie’s partnership to the world comes in conjunction with the Denver Zoo’s pride initiatives, which also include marching in the Coors Light Denver Pride Parade and an event at the zoo called True Colors Safari.

“We have an incredible, rich, diverse group of animals that we care for, about 3,500 individual animals that represent more than 500 species,” director of communications Jake Kubié told Out Front magazine. “Looking at our same-sex flamingos, a lot of the ways that we’re able to address diversity and inclusion is through telling stories about our animals and sharing the different types of relationships that exist in the animal kingdom.”

The flamingos live among other musically-named birds, including Les Paul, Santana, Slash, Hendrix, Cash, Harry Styles, Gibson and Elvis, according to the zoo.

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They’re not the first same-sex bird couple to make headlines; Zoo Atlanta also has a male flamingo couple who in 2015, raised a chick together.

Bird keeper Monica Halpin told The Georgia Voice that the pair, who go by 20 and 46, have been together since the early 1990s, and that the bid couple stole either a nest or an egg from another pair of birds and took turns watching over it.

“They sat really tight on their egg, so I gave them a chick and they raised it,” she said. “They were the best parents we had that year.”

Gay penguin couple Sphen and Magic
| Credit: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Meanwhile, two male Gentoo penguins named Sphen and Magic became parents in October 2018 at the Sydney Aquarium, after they were given a foster egg to incubate and raise.

“Baby Sphengic has already stolen our hearts! We love watching the proud parents doting and taking turns caring for their baby chick,” Tish Hannan, the penguin department supervisor at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, said in a statement.

In September 2018, a different same-sex penguin couple “kidnapped” a chick from another pair of birds at Denmark’s Odense Zoo and raised the baby as their own, while two male griffon vultures, together since 2010, successfully hatched an abandoned egg together at the Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo in June 2017.

Happy Father’s Day to all these feathered dads!