Greater Flamingo

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Common Name: Greater Flamingo
Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus roseus

Size: 43 ½ - 59 inches (110-150 cm)

Habitat: Eurasia and Africa; from West Africa eastward throughout the Mediterranean to South West and South Asia, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Its preferred habitat is shallow, salty lagoons and lakes.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 550,000-680,000. The Palearctic population (including West Africa, Iran and Kazakhstan) is estimated to number between 205,000 and 320,000, the South West and South Asian populations combined at 240,000, and the sub-Saharan African populations between 100,000 and 120,000. The Palearctic population appears to be increasing, while the Asian and sub-Saharan African populations appear to be stable.

The species suffers from low reproductive success if exposed to disturbance at breeding colonies from tourists, low-flying aircraft and especially all-terrain vehicles), or if water-levels surrounding nest-sites lower (resulting in increased access to and therefore predation from ground predators such as foxes and feral dogs). The lowering of water levels in lakes can also lead to hyper-salinity which may affect food resources. Other threats to the species's habitat include effluents from soda-ash mining pollution from sewage and heavy metal effluents from industries. The species also suffers mortality from lead poisoning (lead shot ingestion) collisions with fences and powerlines, and from diseases such as tuberculosis, septicemia8 and avian botulism. In Egypt large numbers of adults are shot or captured to be sold in markets, and egg collecting from colonies occurs in some areas (this may become a threat).

Diet: Crustaceans (primarily brine shrimp (Artemia salina)), mollusks, annelid worms, larval aquatic insects, small fish, adult terrestrial insects (e.g. water beetles, ants), the seeds or stolons of marsh grasses, algae, diatoms and decaying leaves.

Nesting: The species nests in large dense colonies on mudflats or islands of large water bodies, occasionally also on bare rocky islands, with a distance between neighboring nests of between 20 and 50 cm. The nest is usually an inverted cone of hardened mud with a shallow depression on the top (alternatively it may be a small pile of stones and debris when mud is not available).

Cool Facts: The Greater Flamingo is the most widespread Flamingo. Flamingos ingest mud in order to extract organic matter (e.g. bacteria).

In Ancient Rome, flamingo tongues were considered a delicacy

Found in Songbird Remix Flamingos

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