Sunday, April 28, 2013

James's Flamingo

Phoenicoparrus jamesi
The James's Flamingo is a small South American species that lives high up in the plateaus of the Andean Mountains. They feed off of different algae and diatoms that are found in high elevation saline lakes. Like all Flamingos  they are excellent filter feeders, and use their long necks and curved bills to dunk their faces in the water and snatch up tiny meals.

This species is the palest pink of all the Flamingos, and can also be told apart by their red eye patches, bright yellow bills, and orange legs. They are named for naturalist Henry Berkeley James, who went on expeditions to the Andes in order to collect species of natural flora and fauna in the late 19th century.

James's Flamingos have a favorite breeding location -- Laguna Colorada in Bolivia. They gather there in the thousands, and perform giant group displays prior to finding a mate. Once mates are selected, the two birds will stay together until one dies. They produce only one egg each season, laying it on a volcano-shaped nest built out of mud. Chicks are born with fluffy grey feathers, but will gradually lighten and turn more pink over time. It can take up to six years to reach sexual maturity.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : South America
Size : Length up to 3ft (.9m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Phoenicopteriformes
Family : Phoenicopteridae -- Genus : Phoenicoparrus -- Species : P. jamesi
Image : Pimenta

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