Flamingo

The species of flamingo found in Galapagos Islands is closely related to the greater flamingo.

Flamingo

It’s a large bird, up to 120cms in length with a wingspan of about 140cms. There are thought to be between 400 and 500 flamingos in the Galapagos and they are only found on certain islands, notably on southern Isabela.

They have long legs and necks, both of which are extended when they fly, giving them a long, thin silhouette. They are powerful fliers and can travel between islands and lagoons with ease. The birds in the Galapagos are especially colourful with deep pink feathers, coloured by their carotene-rich diet. They feed primarily on shrimps which they find in briny lagoons. They have strong tongues covered in spines which they use to pump water into their hooked beaks when feeding.

They breed between July and March in small groups and have elaborate courtship rituals which tend to take place in groups. The male and female co-operate in building a large nest of mud in the saltwater lagoon, which stands about a foot off the ground. The female lays a single egg which is incubated for a month with both the female and male taking turns to sit on it, while the other feeds. Young flamingos live together in groups, gradually learning how to filter feed, though still at least partially dependent on their parents for several months. Their plumage remains grey for the first year or so, slowly becoming pink as their diet changes.

Flamingos are found on Floreana, Isabela, Rabida, Santiago and Santa Cruz. They move from lagoon to lagoon, dependant on the abundance of food.