Wonders in the Sky: Flamingos Over Gibraltar
When driving along Gibraltar's east side this morning we saw some 40 Greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) flying South. As far as we know this was the first time that these gracious birds have crossed the Rock. Please, see our pictures below!
Simultaneously moving with their bodies stretched in flight it was a stunning sight to behold. Though the Greater flamingo is native to some warm, watery parts of Europe, like Southern Spain and Portugal, it has never been recorded to take a migration route over our skies.
This sociable bird belongs to the larger one of its kind and lives, feeds and breeds in flocks. The flamingo is omnivore and lives of small fish, insects and crustaceans found in estuaries and salty waters.
Both male and female tend to the single egg. The offspring is born with grey feathers and only turns pink two years later. It is believed that a diet of crustaceans is responsible for this change in colour.
In times where food is limited and the habitat dry it may not breed at all, which may account for us not having seen any grey birds among them.
In the wild, the Greater flamingo can live up to 20 years.
... And White Storks
This incident reminded of us another unusual sighting: During spring migration four years back we saw White storks (Ciconia ciconia) crossing Gibraltar via Europa Point.
As it was a stormy day, they had a rest on the military flats in Windmill Hill before heading home to the Campo.