Sunday, July 17, 2022

Greater Flamingo

I was hoping to see flamingos when we visited Portugal and I was not disappointed. We saw more flamingos than any other bird. I'd just had my first good view of a flamingo in March when we visited the Galapagos Islands, a solo American flamingo resplendent in hot pink. The Portugal flamingos were a different kind, the greater flamingo, which has much less pink and more white. 
This is an American flamingo seen in the Galapagos Islands. 

This is a greater flamingo seen in the Sado Estuary in Portugal.
I'd seen greater flamingos before in large flocks in Africa (Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Nakuru) but they were so far away that it was more like looking at pink flowers on a bed of blue in the distance. 
Flamingos in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, magnified many times. 
The greater flamingo is the largest of the different species of flamingo and the most widespread. It is found in Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. For a long time it was considered to be the same species as the American flamingo, but color differences of the head, neck, body and bill was a determinant to segregate them into separate species. The greater flamingo has no subspecies. 

Most of the plumage on the greater flamingo is pinkish-white, but with red wing coverts and black primary and secondary flight feathers. The bill is pink with a black tip and the legs are entirely pink. Subadults are paler with dark legs. During breeding they increase the frequency of spreading uropygial secretions over their feathers which enhances the color. 
Two immature flamingos with white and black bills. 

We saw them flying, coming in for a landing and starting to fly. 
Flying with glossy ibis.


Taking off...

1 comment:

  1. Unlike other large birds (e.g., cranes), they don't tuck in their legs when they fly. They look so ridiculous, like something out of a cartoon. What fun it was to see them relatively close-up!