Flamingoes are large social birds with long, S-shaped curved neck, very high on their feet.
The color of their plumage varies from white to red. They are inhabited by shallow salt lakes and sea shoals. The ideal flamingo wildlife habitat is alkaline or salt lakes. Feed crustaceans and mollusks, as well as algae and seeds.
Although flamingoes are considered birds of tropical warm regions, they are also found in temperate and cold zones, especially in the southern hemisphere. Flamingos are most common in Africa as well as in South and Central America, in Asia their range extends from Anatolia through Iran to the west of India, in the Caucasus (Azerbaijan). Since the 1980s, flamingos have been observed in northern France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
Sometimes, different species multiply together in mixed colonies – for example, common and small flamingos in East Africa or Andean and flamingo Jams in South America.
The largest flamingo species reaches a height of 1.2-1.4 m and weighs 3.5 kg, the smallest – in a height of 80 cm and weighs 2.5 kg. Wingspan ranges from 94 to 150 cm. The oldest flamingo lived for 83 years and died in Adelaide Zoo (Australia) in January 2014.
Currently, there are six types of flamingos:
– Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus);
– red flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber);
– small flamingo (Phoenicoparrus minor);
– common or pink flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus);
– James’ flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi);
– Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis).
Common or pink flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the largest and most common species. Its height reaches 130 cm and it is found on all continents of the Old World.
In Europe, flamingos nest in the Camargue Reserve, at the mouth of the Rhone River (Southern France), as well as in Las Marismas (Southern Spain) and the Stagno di Molentargius Reserve in Cagliari (southern Sardinia).
Pink flamingos are found in wetlands from southern Croatia to Albania and Greece. In Greece, they are regularly met in Macedonia and Thrace, as well as on the Aegean islands of Kos, Samos, Lesvos, Limnos, and Naxos in the Gulf of Ambrachia.
The northernmost breeding ground for this species is Zwillbroker Wenn (West Germany, near the border with the Netherlands).
In Africa, flamingos nest on lakes of Morocco, Southern Tunisia, Northern Mauritania, Kenya, islands of the Green Cape. In the south of Africa, the area covers the island of Green Cape. In the south of Africa, the area covers Madagascar Island and stretches to the west to Botswana and Namibia. The largest concentrations of flamingos are in Mauritania, especially in the Banc d’Argen National Park. It also inhabits the lakes of Southern Afghanistan (at an altitude of three thousand meters).
In Russia, an ordinary flamingo does not nest but is regularly noted on migrations – at the mouth of the Volga River, in Dagestan, Kalmykia, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories. It flies to southern Siberia to the Altai and Krasnoyarsk Krais, Tyumen, Omsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk Oblasts, the Republic of Altai, Buryatia, as well as to Yakutia, Primorye, and the Urals. Winter flamingos flying through Russia in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.
In South Asia, they meet in Bangladesh and coastal areas of Pakistan, in Northwest India and Sri Lanka.
In the Middle East, lives in Iran, Turkey (Tuz-Golulu Island), Israel, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Syria (Jabbul Island).
This is the only flamingo species inhabiting the territory of the former Soviet Union, in the Kazakh lakes Tengiz, Chelkartengiz, and Ashchitastysor.
The small flamingo (Phoenicoparrus minor) is the smallest species of the genus. It is inhabited in Africa: mainly within the East African Rift Valley (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania) and in small numbers in the west of India and Pakistan.
Large mixed colonies of up to several hundred thousand individuals are marked on salty and saline lakes Magadi, Natron, Nakuru, Turkana, Bogoria, and Naivasha.
Small numbers are found in South Africa (Namibia, Botswana), on Madagascar Island, and in West Africa (coastal strip from Mauritania to Cameroon).
Outside the breeding season, these flamingos roam widely in various regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia from the Arabian Peninsula to Pakistan.
The Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) lives in the southern and western regions of South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. It wins in small quantities on the coast of Uruguay and the southeast coast of Brazil.
It rises in the mountains up to 4500 m above sea level.
“Artisans” are periodically found in Ecuador and the Falkland Islands.
Flamingo Jamesi (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) inhabits shallow salt lakes and lagoons of the mountain plateaus (at an altitude of 3 500 m above sea level) in Salt Lake City.
The species is distributed from southern Peru, western Bolivia, and northern Chile to northwestern Argentina, including Lake Mar Chiquita.
Flamingo Jemsa nests regularly in Laguna Colorado (Bolivia), Guayaquil Bay (Ecuador), and Salar de Tarra (Chile). In summer, the birds fly away to Vilama Island and the island of Salar de Tarra (Chile). Grande Island (Argentina).
The Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) in summer inhabits the wetlands of the Andean mountain ranges – in the south of Peru, northern Chile, south-west Bolivia, and north-west Argentina.
In winter, birds migrate to lowland marshes: Mar Chiquita Island (Argentina, Salar de Atacama Island (Chile), Paracas National Reserve (Peru), Eduardo Avaroa National Park (Bolivia).
Red Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) inhabits lagoons, mudflats, brackish coastal and salt lakes of the Caribbean and Galapagos Islands, Caribbean Mexico, South Florida, Belize, coastal Colombia, northern Brazil, and Venezuela. This is the only flamingo found in North America.
It nests in the Galapagos Islands, Trinidad, and Tobago, northern Honduras, along the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba, Jamaica, Espanola, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Turks, and Caicos Islands.