My guests and I thought there was an African Spoonbill – which isn’t an uncommon bird in the area – but as we soon got closer out the waterhole, I burst with excitement when I realised that it was a juvenile greater flamingo.
Now, although not an uncommon bird, we do not get them in this region which begs the question: what was it doing feeding at a waterhole in the central parts of Londolozi?
During long flights or migration, birds regularly get lost or disorientated due to storms, hunting and regrettably, collisions with man made objects. When battling extreme weather conditions, migratory birds may be blown far off course and lose their sense of direction and arrive at a completely unintended destination. This often makes them local celebrities in the birding world by being a rarely seen bird in the area. These often tend to be juveniles, as young, inexperienced birds are known to be at a greater risk of getting lost on migration than older ones are; more experienced individuals are better at correcting deviations from their flight paths.
Little is known about the greater flamingo’s movements and migrations but what is certain is that most of it happens at night. Almost a week ago we had a large thunderstorm which brought us 70mm of rain and ended in few vehicles stuck in the mud, but that’s a story for another blog.
It was after this storm however, that the first sighting of the bird took place. It is believed that most of their movement takes place in response to inland rains and flooding of major pans.
A theory suggests that this juvenile flamingo adopted a wander-life in response to the incoming storm the other night. For what exact reason, I cant be sure. It could have anticipated big flooding where it was usually resident, or perhaps it is just hopelessly lost.
With heading into a proper wet season with the expectation of a lot of rain and more storms than recent years; I’m looking forward to what other wander life birds we going to see in and around the reserve.
Wow! This is an amazing sighting. Lovely to see these different bird species where you don’t expect it. We saw pelicans at Sable Dam near Palaborwa in Kruger and African Skimmers are now regularly seen in Kruger. We have seen flamingoes in Mozambique. It could have come from there. I believe Nata in Botswana was flooded with a lot of rain this past week. The flamingo can be from there aswell.
Hi how nice to see a flamingo but as it is lonely I wish it to be able to reach its flock. I love the impala in the background
Let’s mark this Flamingo as a good omen to the start of 2021! Happy New Year Dean and Londolozi!!
That is incredible!!!!
He is quite beautiful! Hope he survives and maybe find where he wanted to go. Victoria
Wow Great sighting – it was probably just as perplexed as you – like how did I end up here (and where is here )
he is maybe waiting for climate change and inondation !
Very interesting. Hopefully this bird will find its family group again.
So unusual! What’s happened to her since? Is she still visiting Londolozi or has she flown off to continue her journey?
Something has gone wrong in recent weeks with how you pictures are displayed. On the initial website, they are fine, but if I try to enlarge them, I just get a question-mark, or meaningless data. This happens regardless of whether I am using Apple Safari, or Google Chrome.
FYI, there were two juvenile Greater Flamingos seen around Djuma on Safari Live. Wonder if this is one of them.
Well that was a nice surprise to see this wayward bird. Do you think it will eventually find its way to where the rest of these birds go? A really interesting blog Dean and thanks for sharing with us. Be well and stay safe.
Interesting! Thanks for sharing!
I wonder if it’s one of the same ones that was spotted on Buffelshoek a couple weeks ago?
Looking forward to learning more about the wander life birds…
Hi Dean! If it is the same individual, there was one, seen in the Northern Sabi Sands, first on Buffelshoek property and then around Elephant Plains.
Unusual sighting. Whatever the reason for it’s arrival, I hope it can successfully continue to it’s final destination. It looks so lonely.
This is a fascinating development. This might be a silly question Dean, but what is the survival expectancy of a lost bird like this flamingo? Will it attempt to get back on it’s migratory track, or will it stick it out in it’s new environment?
Lovely to see an unexpected visitor to your neighborhood ☺️..we see a lot in the Mediterranean ..wonder if it’s one of ours that strayed away 🤣. Super read thanks Dean🙏