Flamingos in Yucatan

Few years ago, where Cancun lies now, it was possible to see a pink cloud at dawn approaching till descending on Nichupte lagoon. Although it is not possible to see Flamingo flocks there anymore, it is still possible to do so in Celestun, Rio Lagarto

Few years ago, where Cancun lies now, it was possible to see a pink cloud at dawn approaching till descending on Nichupte lagoon. Although it is not possible to see Flamingo flocks there anymore, it is still possible to do so in Celestun, Rio Lagartos, or one hour south in Xcaret Park, that has created a successful program for their reproduction.

Pink Flamingo, also known as Caribbean Flamingo, is one of four flamingo species in America, the only one in North America. They are gregarious, big-sized birds and even when they are not migratory by nature, weather changes push them to find a new home, always in shallow brackish waters. These trips take place by night, thus the impressive arrival scene is often by dawn.

Characteristic pink color of their feathers is obtained from a carotene-rich diet: mainly shrimps and other mollusks that they unearth from mud with their long legs and then filter with their large beak. Females prefer males with the brightest color. Even when mating seems not related to any season in particular, rainfall amount is a decisive factor: more precipitation guarantees more food.

Many years can pass without a couple mating; however they can do it up to twice a year. Couples tend to be for a life time. We do not know their lifespan in the wild, but they have lived 50 to 60 years in captivity. Females lay only one big egg on a volcano-shaped nest on the floor, made out of mud, straw, feathers and pebbles. Incubation usually lasts from 25 to 30 days and both parents take part at doing it.

Chicks are born with gray feathers and they feed on a kind of "milk" that parents produce in their digestive tract. Both parents feed the chick, other Flamingos do it as well. Even when Flamingos are not considered an endangered species, their habitat has been reduced in recent years. The remaining ones have been declared natural sanctuaries; if you visit them try not to cause any damage.

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