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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 08:19 GMT
London Zoo's new bird enclosure
Socorro dove
The bird enclosure will have the rare Socorro dove
Some of the world's most beautiful - and rare - birds are flying free among visitors to a new enclosure at London Zoo.

The attraction has been renovated at a cost of £2.5m to showcase the central London zoo's exotic birds.

The Victorian Blackburn Pavilion has been modernised to involve visitors with up to 200 tropical birds.

It includes the UK's only collection of hummingbirds and Socorro doves - a species extinct in the wild.

The Blackburn Pavilion was originally built in 1883 to house reptiles.

Its original entrance porch has been reopened to visitors after many years of disuse, and a giant mechanical cuckoo clock will stand outside the building.

Queen Victoria impersonator Sylvia Strange presented the launch, alongside an impersonator playing her lady-in-waiting.

Over the past few years London Zoo has been undergoing changes to allow visitors to get closer to 650 different species of animals.

Last year saw the opening of its Gorilla Kingdom, while work to revamp the Children's Zoo is likely to start in 2009.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A tour of London Zoo's new tropical bird enclosure



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