Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi)

loading
Group of puna flamingos in lake
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Puna flamingo fact file

Puna flamingo description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderCiconiiformes
FamilyPhoenicopteridae
GenusPhoenicoparrus (1)

The puna flamingo has the unmistakeable long neck and legs, and a distinctive down-curved bill characteristic of all flamingo species. With an oval body covered in pinkish-white feathers, the puna flamingo has black flight feathers and bright red, elongated shoulder feathers. In the breeding season, adults develop a band of pinkish-red streaks across the breast. The reddish colouration of flamingos comes from the pigments found in the diet of these birds. The bill of the puna flamingo is shorter than in most flamingo species, but still appears massive in comparison to the small head. It is full of fine hairs that are used to filter the lake water. The flamingo holds its long neck straight in flight and calls with a nasal honking sound. This species is unique among flamingos as it lacks the hind toe (2).

Also known as
James’s flamingo, lesser Andean flamingo, parina, parinagua.
Spanish
Flamenco Andino Chico, Flamenco de James, Parina Chica.
Size
Length: 90 – 92 cm (2)
Weight
2 kg (2)
Top

Puna flamingo biology

The puna flamingo is adapted to feed on minute plankton using its odd-shaped bill to filter through the alkaline lake water. It walks gracefully and aimlessly, pausing from feeding regularly (2).

Until 1957, the breeding grounds of the puna flamingo had not been located. It is now known that puna flamingos gather at nest sites in colonies of thousands of pairs, sometimes mixing with the Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) and the Andean flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus). These large gatherings of birds display collectively for a long time surrounding the breeding period, although pair bonds appear to form during these displays. Pairs build a truncated cone of mud topped with a shallow bowl in which the female lays a single egg. Breeding will only take place if the water level of the lake is neither too high nor too low. Incubation of the egg is shared between the male and female. Once the chick begins to hatch, the adults may help it to escape from its shell. The bill of the chick is straight at first, but soon gains its characteristic down-curve. The chick spends up to 12 days in the nest after hatching. It becomes darker grey in colour after leaving the nest but will not achieve full adult plumage until three to four years of age (2).

Puna flamingo migration is poorly understood, but flocks are known to leave higher altitude breeding grounds at the end of summer, possibly to move to lower altitudes. However, some birds remain at the breeding site as the hot springs in the area prevent the lakes from freezing in the cold weather (2).

Top

Puna flamingo range

The puna flamingo occupies a small range in the Andes, from the southern tip of Peru through western Bolivia and northwestern Argentina to northern Chile (2).

Top

Puna flamingo habitat

This highly specialised bird inhabits the salt lakes of the high Andean planes, choosing only those with a soft substrate. It breeds on islands or islets of soft clay or sand, as well as along the shorelines of salt lakes (2).

Top

Puna flamingo status

The puna flamingo is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and is listed on Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

Top

Puna flamingo threats

Up until 1986, egg collection and hunting were intensive. Loss and degradation of the habitat of the puna flamingo have also contributed to its decline, including the pollution and diversion of streams feeding the salt lakes (2).

Top

Puna flamingo conservation

Following the massive declines of the 20th century due to collection and hunting, two guards on motorcycles were employed in 1987 to protect the puna flamingos at the Laguna Colorada colony in Bolivia. Additionally, in 1984 a programme began to protect the birds of northern Chile from mining activities. Now, young are ringed in their first year, and breeding colonies are monitored and guarded (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

For further information on this species see Del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume I. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2005)
    http://www.redlist.org
  2. Sargatal, J., Elliott, A. and Del Hoyo, J. (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume I. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CMS (June, 2005)
    http://www.cms.int
X
Close

Image credit

Group of puna flamingos in lake  
Group of puna flamingos in lake

© Pete Oxford / naturepl.com

Nature Picture Library
5a Great George Street
Bristol
BS1 5RR
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
Fax: +44 (0) 117 911 4699
info@naturepl.com
http://www.naturepl.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is affected by global climate change. To learn about climate change and the species that are affected, visit our climate change pages.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog