Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wandering Flamingos

A fascinating story of two flamingos, one from the Yucatan that provides a very rare undisputed US record of a wild bird, and another from the Old World (via a Kansas zoo) that shows how widely an escaped bird can wander.

Details and a great comparison photo are on the Louisiana Ornithological Society website


nicka29 said...

Isn't that crazy? What are the odds that an escaped flamingo finds probably the only other wild flamingo in the country to hang out with?

David La Puma said...


The wandering flamingo phenomenon IS fascinating...I photographed this one
in the winter of 2002, while paddling in the back-county of Everglades National Park. The bird was in a flock of 23 birds. It had been previously reported and identified as one of the Yucatan birds from the band combo on its leg.

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the origin of flamingos in the Everglades, some of which has ended up on the Tropical Audubon bird board.

Rafael Galvez (illustrator of the Raptors and Owls of Georgia (former USSR, not southern US)) has been investigating the possible relationship between the birds at the Hialeah Racetrack (now closed), those in the Everglades, and the singletons that show up from time to time throughout south Florida.

He has found some interesting plumage differences between those at the racetrack and those in the "wild", although the question then becomes how long it take before a captive flamingo becomes indistinguishable from a wild one...and the fact that they readily find each other and flock together (as evidenced by the Texas and Florida birds) makes it even more difficult to tease apart.

Here are a couple of links to check out:

and this one has some beautiful paintings by Rafael depicting individual variation within the Everglades flock (in Snake Bight):


David La Puma