Flamingos – Description
Migration is inevitable to specific species those residents to the coldest places on Earth. An adaptation to endure the fall weather when the resources turn cold. Flamingos, the pink flock are one such species to their life cycle that migration is seasonal. Flock wading and pristine pink plumage of Flamingos is an awe-inspiring sight to witness. The pink appearance of these social birds is owing to its carotene rich diet of shrimps and blue-green algae. Resident to Africa, India, Middle East, and South America are water birds having a lifespan of up to 40 years.
Flamingos habitat includes lakes, lagoons, and swamps where they socially interact in a flock of two hundred to thousands. Types of Flamingos are categorised into a class of six; American Flamingos, Andean Flamingos, Chilean Flamingos, James Flamingos, Greater & Lesser Flamingos. The feeding habits remain the same for each class. With the beaks as good filters, streams shrimps and algae from the sand and foreign particles.
The webbed feet of Flamingos are multi-functional. It helps in easy wading, spooking shrimps, and isolating algae from the soil. It likewise aids in weight balancing while dozing on one leg. It has not been quite clear to date from several hypothesis put forward that why Flamingos doze on one leg. The long and slender adaptation of legs helps with adequate momentum in taking off supporting the comparatively larger upper body.
Flamingos are well known for their dance moves. Unlike most birds, the males dance in a group in attracting a mate. They wade in a group with the swift left-right slightly lifted head turn. The swift leg movement on dancing is often compared to the march past. On attracting a mate, the pair sticks together and continues to mate for the lifetime. The nest is set up on the mounds of mud having up to two eggs in a clutch.
Both male and female parent equally partakes in the process of feeding. It is a unique attraction to witness the way the red crop milk is fed to the chicks. Crop milk is a highly nutritional esophageal secretion produced by the parent Flamingos to boost the immunity of the chicks. The young Flamingos form smaller groups leaving the nest within 12 days. The young groups merge with the parental groups before the seasonal migration ends.
During seasonal migrations, hundreds of these water birds perish owing to ageing and illness. In like manner, human interventions play a vital role in posing threats to the seasonal inhabitants. Ghost nets and hooks tangle around making it hard for the birds to survive. Once tangled in nets, trying to break free they get tangled further and drown in the high tides. Several cases have been reported on angling snares getting hooked making it a nightmare for the birds.
Contamination of water bodies is another factor degrading the quality of these social bird’s diets. Owing to increased pollution, the number of shrimps and spirulina diminishes day by day making it hard for the birds to survive. Incidents of polythene scraps retrieved from the gut of dead birds reveals insights on the rise in pollutants in the water bodies.