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Greater flamingo


Common name Greater flamingo
Scientific name Phoenicopterus roseus
Type Waterbirds
Status Resident

Large wader (about 145 cm or 5 ft) with an also large wingspan (about 170 cm or 5.5 ft). Unmistakable. Whitish plumage in general with pink tones, more brown in juveniles and more intense in adults, especially during the breeding season. Males larger than females. Very long neck. Downcurved bill in intense pink colour, with black tip. Long, pink legs.



Where it lives

Saline or brackish lagoons with surface water and a marked periodic flood regime.

How it lives

Colonial species and resident in Malaga all year round, although the majority of specimens are migratory and come only during the summer period. It breeds from April. Nests on the ground, on small elevations of the ground, located in islets or breakwaters above the water level, isolated inside the lagoon. One laying of 1 to 2 eggs. The Greater Flamingo feeds by filtering the water with its bill, in which it has some sheets with the shape of combs. It consumes algae and invertebrates, especially a crustacean called Artemia salina, which is the food that gives the pink colour to the feathers. To forage this wader "stamps" the bottom of the lagoon to lift the silt and stir the existing food, which then can be filtered. The breeding is cooperative. There are helping birds that take care of chick nurseries. The adults take frequent trips to find food. In Fuente de Piedra the flamingos travel at night to Doñana.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

The main observation point of this species is in the Fuente de Piedra lagoon. There are also specimens to watch in the Campillos and La Ratosa (Alameda) lagoons and in the mouths of the Guadalhorce and the Vélez rivers.

Curious facts

If you could see from the air a colony of flamingos you would see that around each individual there is a dark halo in the water. This halo forms a "mole" in the sheet of water and is produced by the stamping that the flamingos perform to feed themselves. Many flamingos equate to many moles in the water, as in a flamenco dress. However, their name comes from the flaming of their wings in flight, comparable by its colour with the mythical phoenix.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration