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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Birds: Andean Flamingo

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Description

The Andean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus) is a bird species in the Flamingo family restricted to the Chilean Andes. It is closely related to James's Flamingo.

Like all flamingos it lays a single chalky white egg on a mud mound. Its population in Northern Chile was badly hit hit by drought, which cause the breeding lagoon areas to dry up, either preventing nest building, or allowing predation especially from the Culpeo Fox, Pseudalopex culpaeus.

Andean Flamingos, like all the group, feed by filtering small items from water with their specialised bills. They have a deep, narrow lower mandible, which allows them to eat small foods such as diatoms, in contrast to the wider bill of larger species, which take bigger prey items.

Most of the plumage is pinkish white. The Andean Flamingo is the only species that has yellow legs and feet.

Status: Classified as Vulnerable (VU – A1acd+2bcd) on the IUCN Red List 2002.

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