Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 63

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WORDS BY AMRITA ADVANI
The flamingo with its vibrant plumage and
unmistakable swagger is the kind of bird
many travellers would cross the world to see.
Who wouldn’t like to stand at the edge of a
tranquil lake painted pink by a visiting flock?
In Sri Lanka this tropical mirage is a privileged
reality. The Greater Flamingos, not unlike the
typical traveler, flock yearly to the island to
escape harsh winters.
Sri Lanka is the southernmost landmass of
the Central Asian Flyway and is the final
destination for many migratory birds exiting
the eastern and western Indian flyways.
Flamingos used to be a prevalent sight in the
southern nature reserve of Bundala. However,
the past decade has shown a change in their
migratory pattern and it is nowmore common
to see the flamingos in Mannar and other
areas of northern Sri Lanka including Jaffna
and Chundlkulam. With varying landscapes
from the Vankalai mudflats to the Korakulum
wetland, this 195 square kilometer island
proves to be an excellent feeding ground for
these blush beauties.
Embodying the saying “you are what you
eat”, flamingos get their distinctive pink
feathers from carotenoid pigments in their
food, typically consisting of shrimp, plankton
and crustaceans. Born white and grey, the
typical flamingos will mature in to its pink
splendor depending on the strength of its diet.
Monogomous by nature and laying one egg a
year, the colony all mate at the same time so
they can hatch at the same time. Working
together to protect each other from predators,
flamingos fly in a distinct V-shape with the
young in the middle for added security. A flock
of flamingos is also known as a Flamboyance
and once you are blessed to see them in the
wild, it becomes all too clear why.
PHOTOS BY SADHINA ABEYSURIYA
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