Residents and visitors in Plett have enjoyed the yearly visits from a small group of greater flamingo, once thought to be a ‘fluke’ visit. Nine or ten years ago it was two or three occasionally seen in the lagoon during the end of summer. Now the flock has grown to many more birds.
These graceful birds are close to 6 feet in height. The greater flamingo has pink feathers and black-tipped wings.
These remarkable birds do not breed much in South Africa. Their breeding grounds are Sua Pan in Botswana and Etoscha Pan in Namibia. The average lifespan is 60 years. The greater flamingo has a very unique feeding system –wading with their bill upside down, filtering out small organisms, which they can often be seen flushing out with sharp foot movements. The bill has filter membranes.
We are very fortunate to have these remarkable birds visiting in Plettenberg Bay, a testament to the conservation efforts of the Bitou Wetlands and surrounding birding areas. Visitors are encouraged to visit, but not to disturb or disrupt the birds by getting to close or allowing dogs on the premises without a lead.
Photos by Pastor Johan Coetzee