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Bonaire : Pink Flamingos

pink flamingoes in Bonaire

The Caribbean Flamingo inhabits the Caribbean Islands and the north coast of South America, but is extremely picky about breeding sites. The ground needs to have the right consistence to make that volcano shaped nest, so a thick layer of firm mud is preferred. They also crave enough food (with high salt content) and fresh water. And silence please. If a predator or human noise reaches the flamingoes, the breeding will stop. Bonaire is therefore a sweet spot for them to breed.

Flamingoes are the only filter feeders among birds. They are able to eat by holding their heads down and into the water. With those long legs, they shake the salinas and use the tongue as fast plunger to drive water and mud along the bill, which is equipped with filters that are able to separate food from mud. Young flamingoes have smaller holes in those filters, so they only eat algae but as they grow up, the holes grow too, letting through tiny mollusks, shrimp and larvae - no longer vegetarian.

Their height is usually between 115-170 cm, wingspan is around 2.5m and their weight remains below 4kg. They only lay one egg, that takes 28 days to incubate. They may live up to 50 years (even if 25 is average). Bonaire is key for flamingoes, out of the 50K that inhabit the Caribbean, 8K are in Bonaire.

Their color comes from the betacarotene content on the animals they feed upon and since their feathers fade in the sunlight, they escaped the plumage trade. Flamingoes are monogamous and cute as hell. I like them so much that I got Kudasai home a long time ago, getting him to travel the world with us.
These are the shots form Bonaire. It was a pleasure to watch them chillin' in their natural habitat.
pink flamingoes in Bonaire
pink flamingoes in Bonaire
pink flamingoes in Bonaire
pink flamingoes in Bonaire
pink flamingoes in Bonaire


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