A Chilean Flamingo and an America Flamingo Meet in Mexico - Observation of the Week 2019-06-18

Our Observation of the Week is this unlikely pair - a Chilean Flamingo on the right and an American Flamingo on the left - seen in Mexico by luisave!

About three years ago, an American Flamingo arrived in the Mexican city of León, Guanajuato, establishing itself in Metropolitan Park. It was around this time that Luis Mauricio Mena Páramo (luisave) began his bird inventory of the city. Since then, Luis has documented 188 species in the city (Mexico’s fourth largest), and on May 29th of this year he photographed a second flamingo in Metropolitan Park.

After discussions on both iNaturalist and in local birding fora, the second flamingo was confirmed as a Chilean Flamingo, a species that naturally ranges in the western and southern parts of South America and has been introduced in some parts of Europe and the United States. Luis’s photo is the first photo on iNaturalist of a wild Chilean Flamingo in Central America and well out of its normal range!

“So far,” explains Luis, “we have no knowledge or information about the possible origin and permanence of this bird

What we can know is that the American Flamingo that also inexplicably arrived at the Park more than three years ago has given it an excellent welcome. Perhaps it is a historical record, in which two wild Flamingos of different species coexist together and are very well adapted to each other.

Like other flamingos, the Chilean Flamingo uses the filters in this beak to feed on algae and invertebrates, and the carotenoids in their food cause the pink coloration of the birds’ plumage. Just one egg is laid per mating pair, and it rests on a raised mud nest. Both parents are able to produce crop milk to feed the young bird after it hatches.

Luis (above, at Metropolitan Park with both flamingos in the background) is turning his bird inventory into a book titled PRIMERA GUÍA DE AVES DE LEÓN, and he tells me “I use iNaturalist virtually every day in order to learn more about the world around me and also to share my observations with a community of naturalists...It is clear that without the support of the iNaturalist platform I would not have gotten this far...in my fifties I think it's been the best way to invest my free time, doing what I really like. It's a good way to transcend.

To this day, both flamingos continue to reside in the Metropolitan Park of León, and I have practically watched and photographed them every day. It has been amazing this story of adaptation to the urban environment and I feel very fortunate to share it with all of you.

- by Tony Iwane. Some quotes have been edited for clarity.

- A group of Chilean Flamingos “dance” in this video.

- Scientists have found that flamingos are more stable on one leg than two

Posted by hannahsun99 hannahsun99, September 05, 2020 10:38


No comments yet.

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments