Lesser Flamingo Natural History

Range & habitat

This species can be found in much of Africa (especially sub Saharan regions), however can also be found as far north as India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Oman, Yemen and even Spain.

Its preferred habitats in their range (especially in east African countries) are salt lakes (this is the most preferred habitat for breeding), salt works, sewage treatment works and coastal mudflats.

Habits

One of the most impressive and well known traits of this bird is the number of individuals which make up a flock.  There may be just several hundred in a flock, however it is not uncommon for a flock of lesser flamingos to contain tens of thousands of individuals.

Courtship in this species can happen all year and when it is time to lay her eggs, the female will use a mud mound nest which is usually around 30cm high, which both parents will tend to, including incubating the eggs.  This is done in 1 day shifts and will continue for around 28 days.  However this all changes about 6 days after the chick hatches when it will join a creche of thousands of baby birds to learn how to run and fly (which they can do from 12 weeks old).

They take on their colour not naturally bu instead through their food, which in the wild is predominantly spirulina algae.

Size

Length; 90cm

Weight; 2kg

Threats

This species is classed as Near Threatened even though it is the most numerous species of flamingo in the world.  The reason for this is that their population is rapidly decreasing because the availability of breeding sites for this bird is decreasing due to pollution and human encroachment.

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The Lesser Flamingo at Sandwich Wildlife Park

We have a very modest flock of 6 birds at the park, making up a gorgeous bachelor group of all males.  They can be found by one of the big lodges, taking up residence in the pond in front of this majestic building, right next door to our maned wolves.

We don’t feed them exclusively on spirulina algae, instead giving them a healthy pellet diet which contains all the vitamins, minerals and natural chemicals which they need to stay strong, healthy and of course pink!  If we fed them a normal water fowl feed there is a chance that in time they could become grey in coloration!

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