Love is for the birds.
The Denver Zoo’s famed same-sex flamingo couple, Freddie Mercury and Lance Bass, has broken up after several years together.
The zoo slipped the bombshell into an otherwise celebratory Pride Month post on Facebook last week in which it mentioned that flamingo flocks consist of “collections of partnerships” which include “not only male-female breeding pairs, but also strong bonds between same-sex pairs.”
The post went on, “While our famed, same-sex couple Chilean flamingo Lance Bass and American flamingo Freddie Mercury are no longer a pair, they were paired up for several years and acted as surrogate parents if a breeding pair was unable to raise their chick.”
After multiple commenters demanded more information about what happened to the two lovebirds, the zoo posted a follow-up.
“Please rest assured that both Freddie and Lance are in good health, weren’t separated and their break up was amicable,” the zoo said. “Mating for life isn’t necessarily true for all birds, and our keepers have noticed that some birds in long-term relationships sometimes decide to move on and pair up with other birds.”
Zoo staff had first noticed Freddie and Lance together in 2014.
“We started noticing them hanging out and spending a lot of time together,” bird keeper Brittney Weaver said in 2019. “We saw them participating in all those courtship behaviors. When they finally built that nest, that’s when we knew.”
During their years together, the two male birds made national headlines and even attracted the attention of the human Lance Bass, who tweeted his approval of his avian namesake.
Their split actually happened in 2020, zoo spokesperson Carlie McGuire told Denver’s KUSA-TV. Now Freddie, 52, has paired up with a 14-year-old female flamingo named Lommi.
Apparently, no one saw it coming.
“Lommi has been around Freddie for nearly her entire life without any indication of a bond before, so keepers aren’t exactly sure why these two decided to pair up,” the zoo said on Facebook.
Lance, 20, has not been as lucky in love post-breakup. Zookeepers haven’t noticed him in a “concrete bond” with any birds.