Flamingo nest mounds

Subject: Flamingo nest mounds
From: "Rohan H. Wickramasinghe" <>
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 1997 15:52:59 SLT

I have a problem and Glen Ingram suggests that someone on
sabirdnet and/or birding-aus may be able to help. I would be
most grateful for advice.

Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) are classed as winter
visitors and summer loiterers in Sri Lanka (n.b. Winter and summer
of the Northern Hemisphere). G.M.Henry in " A Guide to the Birds
of Ceylon " says " Our race breeds in suitable places in southern
Europe, north Africa and central Asia; recently it has been found
breeding in the Rann of Cutch ". Though this was written in 1955,
no definite evidence has still been given that flamingos breed in
Sri Lanka although Henry does note that " In Ceylon it is mainly
a winter visitor, but a good many loiter through the south-west
monsoon and it has often been suspected of breeding on remote
lagoons in the Eastern Province. Positive evidence of this is,
however, lacking, and while it may have done so in times past, when
the country was very much wilder, it seems improbable that it could
nowadays find a sufficiently undisturbed , large area of suitable
country for the purpose. "

In this context, very recently Nihal Fernando, Sri Lankan
photographer, observed 635 flamingo breeding platforms in the south of
the country. There were no eggs or young to be seen. I have discussed
this with respected ornithologists who said that this observation
alone is insufficient evidence that this was a serious attempt at
breeding and that these platforms may have been trial structures by
young individuals before migrating with mature birds to the habitual
breeding grounds overseas.

I wonder if anyone would be good enough to comment on the breeding
habits of flamingos in the light of the above. It is really quite
important to know for conservation purposes.

Thanks very much in advance,

Rohan H. Wickramasinghe
Institute for Tropical Environmental Studies,
41 Flower Road,
Colombo 7,
Sri Lanka

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