The best place to see Flamingo's in Spain Bar NONE is the lagoon of Fuente de Piedra. It is just a short distance north-west of Antequera, around 15,000 pairs of flamingos arrive in the first 2 months of each year to breed. The chicks arrive in spring, and the birds stay right through Summer till August.
Flamingos are a family of large, brilliantly coloured aquatic birds whose characteristic habitats are alkaline or saline lakes. Long legs and a long, curved neck are characteristic all flamingo species. Flamingos are the bird with the longest neck and the longest legs compared with body size. They have a short tail, large wings, long legs, a pink or moronic colour, and webbed feet. They may stand up to five feet tall. Their diet consists of crustaceans, algae and tiny aquatic invertebrates which give the birds their colour. When the flamingo feeds, it dips its bill, which is downturned, upside down into the water. They feed by sucking in water through their bill and passing it through sieve-like plates to filter out the small shrimp and water-boatmen of their diet.
Flamingos are the only birds that use this method of feeding. It is known as filter feeding. Feather colour varies with species, ranging from pale pink to crimson. A flamingo's diet of tiny water plants and animals is full of substances called carotenoids. These carotenoids pigments cause flamingos' feathers to turn pink. The more their diet contains these substances the pinker they get. In flight or on the ground, these stately, long-legged and long-necked birds are impressive, a popular sight for tourists and photographers. Flamingos are very social birds. Colonies of tens of thousands of birds are common. They have good hearing but little or no sense of smell.
Flamingos are thought to reach sexual maturity at about five years, and to have a lifespan of about 15 years. Its call is a deep, loud honk, somewhat resembling that of a goose. Flamingos legs bend backwards and they eat upside down. They rest either sitting down with their legs tucked beneath them or standing on one leg. This saltwater lake has the only inland colony of greater flamingos in Europe. Here we have what seems to be the largest natural lagoon in Spain. Over 3 miles long and over 1 and a half miles wide this lagoon provides an ideal breeding spot for one of this most unusual bird.
Written by : Barbara Brough