Argentina’s Flamingos

Mar Chiquita lake harbours most of the planet's Chilean Flamingos © Pablo Rodriguez Merkel
Date:
Source:
Birdlife Europe, by James Lowen
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News

This year’s British Birdwatching Fair will support the creation of Argentina's largest national park, in the process providing a haven to nearly a million flamingos and shorebirds.

 

A gargantuan pink candyfloss wisps over an immense lake in north-central Argentina before sugar-rushing upwards in a flurry of a hundred thousand wings. Mar Chiquita – South America's second-largest waterbody, and the world's fifth-biggest salt lake – harbours most of the planet's Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis and nearly half its Andean Flamingo Phoenicoparrus andinus. A lagoon with a legend, it is also an IBA In Danger, a national-park-in-waiting… and the focus of the British Birdwatching Fair 2018.

Mar Chiquita means 'little sea'. This vast salina (salt lake) ranges 45 miles (70km) by 15 miles (24km). Mar Chiquita is a literal oasis – and its water, marshy fringes and surrounding grasslands throng with wildlife. Up to 318,000 Chilean Flamingos (Near Threatened) have been counted, their bubblegum-pink congregation boosted in winter with up to 18,000 Andean Flamingo (Vulnerable) and smaller numbers of Puna Flamingo Phoenicoparrus jamesi (Near Threatened).

Mar Chiquita, meaning "Little Sea", is South America's second largest water body © Pablo Rodriguez Merkel
Mar Chiquita, meaning "Little Sea", is South America's second largest water body © Pablo Rodriguez Merkel