Lesser Flamingo

Scientific Name
Phoenicopterus minor
Conservation Status
Near Threatened (NT)

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Lesser Flamingo Images

Wikipedia Article

The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) is a species in the flamingo family of birds that resides in Africa (principally in the East African Rift) and another population in India. Birds are occasionally reported from further north, but these are generally considered to be escapees.
The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest species of flamingo, though is a tall and largish bird by most standards. The species can weigh from . The standing height is around . The total length (from beak to tail) and wingspan are in the same range of measurements, from . Most of the plumage is pinkish white. The clearest difference between this species and Greater Flamingo, the only other Old World species, is the much more extensive black on the bill. Size is less helpful unless the species are together, since the sexes of each species also differ in height. The Lesser Flamingo may be the most numerous species of flamingo, with a population that (at its peak) probably numbers up to two million individual birds. This species feeds primarily on Spirulina, algae which grow only in very alkaline lakes. Although blue-green in colour, the algae contain the photosynthetic pigments that give the birds their pink colour. Their deep bill is specialised for filtering tiny food items. The lesser flamingo also feeds on shrimp. Lesser Flamingos are prey to a variety of species, including Marabou Storks, Baboons, African Fish Eagles and Wildcats.
In Africa, where they are most numerous, the Lesser Flamingos breed principally on the highly caustic Lake Natron in northern Tanzania. Their other African breeding sites are at Etosha Pan, Sua Pan and Kamfers Dam. The last confirmed breeding at Aftout es Saheli in coastal Mauritania was in 1965. Breeding occurred at Lake Magadi in Kenya in 1962 when Lake Natron was unsuitable due to flooding. In the early 20th century breeding was also observed at Lake Nakuru. The species also breeds in south-western and southern Asia. In 1974 they bred at the Rann of Kutch, but since then only at the Zinzuwadia and Purabcheria salt pans in north-western India. Like all flamingos, they lay a single chalky white egg on mounds they build of mud. Chicks join creches soon after hatching, sometimes numbering over a hundred thousand individuals. The creches are marshalled by a few adult birds who lead them by foot to fresh water, a journey that can reach over .
Despite being the most numerous species of flamingo, it is classified as near-threatened due to its declining population and the low number of breeding sites, some of which are threatened by human activities. The population in the two key east African lakes, Nakuru and Bogoria, have been adversely affected in recent years by suspected heavy metal poisoning, while its primary African breeding area in Lake Natron is currently under threat by a proposed soda ash plant by Tata Chemicals. The only breeding site in South Africa, situated at Kamfers Dam, is threatened by pollution and encroaching development. The Lesser Flamingo is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
Image:Lesser Flamingos I - Chilika IMG 9298.jpg| In Chilika, Orissa, India. Image:Lesser Flamingos I3 - Chilika IMG 9295.jpg| In Chilika, Orissa, India. Image:Lesser Flamingoes I IMG 9294.jpg| In Chilika, Orissa, India. Image:Phoeniconaias minor.jpg| At Disney's Animal Kingdom Image:Flamingo00.jpg| A painting by C. G. Finch-Davies Image:Phoeniconaias minor3.jpg|Lake Nakuru, Kenya Image:Phoeniconaias minor.ogg|Video taken at Disney's Animal Kingdom Image:Lesser Flamingos, 2000 adults, Kamfersdam.jpg|Breeding colony at Kamfers Dam af:Kleinflamink ar: az:Kiik qzlqaz br:Flammeg bihan ca:Flamenc menut cs:Plamek mal de:Zwergflamingo es:Phoenicopterus minor eo:Malgranda flamengo eu:Phoeniconaias minor fa: fr:Flamant nain hr:Patuljasti plamenac it:Phoeniconaias minor he: lt:Maasis flamingas hu:Kis flaming nl:Phoeniconaias ja: no:Dvergflamingo pnb: pl:Flaming may pt:Flamingo-pequeno ru: sk:Plameniak men sv:Mindre flamingo tr:Kk flamingo udm: vi:Hng hc nh zh: