Flamingos are rather a comical bird from my point of view. When I need to pick an animal, for what ever reason I usually choose the flamingo. Their ridiculously long legs which bend the wrong way and their gorgeous feminine pink colour made me really excited to see flamingos in the wild. Last year I was lucky enough to experience seeing Flamingos in their natural habitat. That is right, not in a zoo, but a real flamingo ‘safari’ in Bolivia.
After a full days driving, we reached our stop. In the middle of absolutely no where near the Chilean-Bolivian border, the driver pulled up along side a bright pink lake. Sure enough, wading in the shallow waters of the lake were hundreds of flamingoes! It was a very surreal moment. Not only were the flamingoes amazing to see, but the landscape was incredible. In this particular region of Bolivia, the ground contains very high concentrations of metals meaning not many plants can grow. The bare mountains surrounding the lake in contrast with the bright blue, clear sky was an amazing sight. Here were no signs of human life for hours (except for us of course) making for a special moment with the flamingoes!
Some interesting things about flamingoes:
- A “flamboyance” is the term for a group of flamingos.
- A flamingo lays only 1 egg per year.
- A baby flamingo is born either grey or white andcan take up to 3 years to reach the gorgeous pink colour.
- Flamingos are pink in colour due to caretenoid pigments in their food.
- Shrimp, plankton, algae and crustaceans are common on a flamingos menu.
- The tallest of the flamingo species can reach up to 150cm tall. There are 6 species.
- A flamingos “knee” which looks as though it bends the wrong way is actually an ankle. Their knees sit up very high and are usually not visible.
- A flamingo can live to be 30 years old.
- Some flamingo species are being threatened by humans hunting them for their decorative feathers, eggs or for meat. It is estimated that only 30 000 Andean flamingos are left in the wild.