Developing a Regional Conservation Strategy for Flamingos in the Americas

Flamingos are wading birds and move from one wetland to another across the landscape as local conditions change. While flamingos are adapted to widely changing conditions, increasing pressure from mining, agricultural expansion, urban and residential development, and human disturbance, as well as global processes like climate change, threaten the temporal and spatial dynamics of the regional wetland complex that supports these flamingo populations. 

Flamingo Research and Conservation in South America

Three flamingo species live in the wetlands of southern South America: the Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) is the most widespread throughout the southern cone, while the Andean Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) and Puna Flamingo (P. jamesi) are found primarily in the wetlands of the high plateau or altiplano in the Andes mountains of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. However, they can also be found in lowland wetlands that are critical for their survival, especially during winter months.

Dr. Felicity Arengo, Associate Director of the CBC works with the Grupo Conservación Flamencos Altoandinos (GCFA), a regional conservation initiative that leads research, management, conservation, capacity development, and outreach activities at key sites throughout the flamingo distribution. The GCFA coordinates a regional research and conservation program focused on flamingo population monitoring, including regular simultaneous censuses; studies of distribution and habitat use; and strengthening of conservation and management at key sites, including protection of breeding colonies. These activities are in concert with training and outreach activities targeting park staff, students, professionals, and the general public.

Our goal is to implement a long-term regional conservation strategy that will ensure the functional integrity of the wetlands that are crucial for these birds’ survival. This requires regional, cross-boundary collaboration among a variety of institutions in the flamingo range countries.

The CBC's research on Flamingos in the Americas is led by CBC Associate Director, Dr. Felicity Arengo.

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