I am tall, pink and stand on one leg…
Photo Credit: Ali Adil
What am I?
Yes, you guessed it… We have been privileged here at Soneva Jani with a very special visitor – the Greater Flamingo! Although normally known to travel and feed in large groups, we have been sighting a lone bird which will visit, like clockwork, to one of our freshwater lakes at the same time every day to feed.
This flamingo has a widespread distribution, ranging across Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, aaall the way to Europe, and favours warm regions with mud-flats. They choose these locations for the abundance of their favourite foods, including crustaceans, small fish, fly larvae and plankton. In fact, it is the pigments in the tiny shrimplike crustaceans and algae found here that give the flamingo their celebrated bright pink plumage.
To draw their prey up to the surface, the flamingo will wade around the lake, stirring up the sediment. They will then stick their beak – or even whole head underwater, filtering out the prey from the mud using special comb-like plates in their beak.
The Greater Flamingo can grow up to 1.5m in length, weigh up to 4kg, and live more than 40 years in natural conditions. Interestingly, flamingos do not acquire their pink colour until 2 or more years of age, and it is thought that they stand on one leg simply because it is easier for them!
So there you have it.. Flamingos live in the Maldives too!
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