Today we will be focusing on Bolivia's flamingos. More specifically, on the Andean Flamingo. It seems unbelievable that it could be possible to find flamingos (normally a tropical bird) high up in the arid, dry Andes Mountains of Bolivia, but it's true.
Andean Flamingos are one of the rarest flamingos in the world. Unlike most flamingos which live at sea level near rivers and oceans in tropical places, the Andean Flamingo oddly lives in the Andes Mountains. It's body is pale pink but with brighter upper parts, and a deep pink lower neck, breast, and wing-coverts, and is the only species of flamingo with yellow legs and three-toed feet.
Somebody made this beautiful drone video of the flamingos at Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon).
It lives in the wetlands of the high Andes Mountains of southern Perú, northwestern Argentina, Bolivia and northern Chile. It's a migratory bird that can travel up to 700 miles. Wait, let me rephrase that. The Andean Flamingo is a migratory bird that can travel up 700 miles IN ONE DAY.
They live in the Salt Lakes like Salar de Uyuni during summer but go lower to the wetlands for the winter. The reason for this migration could be because of the extreme aridity of the salt-flats in the winter. Aridity means dryness. The path of
this migration is unknown but it is thought to go through the Chilean breeding grounds and the central and western wetlands of Argentina.
The ONLY thing they eat is a tiny algae called diatoms. They eat with a deep-keeled bill. Fun Fact: A study shows that when putting groups of Andean Flamingos with groups of Chilean flamingos or James Flamingos, the Andean Flamingos will adopt the foraging strategy used by the other flamingo groups. Foraging strategy means the way they look for food.
Like many other flamingos, they can live to be up to 50 years old. They breed in colonies from December to February. Unfortunately, they usually lay only one egg per year and success in breeding is very low. This is partly because people eat their eggs. The male is actually grey before they develop the pink we see regularly on flamingos.
So I hope you learned something new about one of Bolivia's wildlife. Maybe you never even heard of the Andean Flamingos before.
Here's a question you can answer for me: one of the top facts about them is that they only eat a tiny algae called diatoms, right? Can you imagine eating only one food forever? What food would you eat if you had to eat it, and nothing else, forever?
Video source: https://youtu.be/rHO2NqSB_HE
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