Thursday, June 29, 2017

Greater Flamingo

The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in parts of Africa, southern Asia (coastal regions of Pakistan and India), and southern Europe (including Spain, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy and the Camargue region of France). Some populations are short distance migrants, and sightings north of the breeding range are relatively frequent; however, given the species' popularity in captivity, whether or not these are truly wild individuals is a matter of some debate. A single bird was seen on North Keeling Island (Cocos (Keeling) Islands) in 1988.
Sri Lanka has 453 species of birds of which 237 species are resident birds which means that they breed here. The balance 216 bird species are migrants among whom 72 species are considered “vagrants” coming on and off unlike the others which are regulars. Sri Lanka which is at the tip of India shares 89% of all bird species with India but 11% of the resident birds here are endemic. This has come about due to different climates and elevations within our tiny country.
Jetwing Eco Holidays tour guide U.L Nawfer has spotted the below flock of greater flamingos in Bundala, Sri Lanka on 15th June 2017. Every year these migratory Flamingos are flocking to north Sri Lanka, although they are shunning the south. According to Nawfer, the south of Sri Lanka particularly Bundala has been colourfully adorned by the beauty of 1,500-2,000 Greater Flamingos during this season.
Bundala National Park, located about fifteen kilometers east of Hambantota (a similar distance west of Tissamaharama), is one of Sri Lanka's foremost destinations for birdwatchers, protecting an important area of coastal wetland famous for its abundant aquatic (and other) birdlife. The park is also home to significant populations of elephants, Marsh & estuarine crocodiles, turtles & other fauna, including the leopard. Stretching along the coast east of Hambantota, Bundala National Park is ideal for instant gratification: in a four hour jeep ride, we can see elephants, 8ft crocs, giant squirrels & flamingoes. Afternoon safaris in the dry season (December - May) provide visitors with the best chance of seeing the wildlife.
The most famous visitors are the huge flocks of flamingos. The Bundala area is the flamingos' last refuge in the southern Sri Lanka and anyone can see here in variable numbers throughout the year; their exact breeding habits remain a mystery, though it's thought they migrate from the Rann of Kutch in northern India. It's a winter home to the greater flamingoes & up to 2000 have been recorded here. Many other birds journey from Siberia & Rann of Kutch in India to winter here, arriving between August & April. About 350 flamingoes have made Bundala their year-round home.
Below are the images of flock of flamingos that have been spotted by Jetwing Eco Holidays tour guide U.L Nawfer in Bundala National Park, Sri Lanka.