A juvenile Greater Flamingo spotted at Għadira earlier today is believed to have landed on the beach either because it was distressed, tired from migration or injured.
Beachgoers got a pleasant surprise this morning as the young flamingo landed on the beach alone. Unfortunately, this was interpreted as a sign that the flamingo is in some sort of distress, since both adults and juveniles usually migrate in groups.
“At times these birds stop to rest in brackish water habitats like Salina and Għadira. Given that both adults and juveniles migrate together, it is often the case that some juveniles are weak and become stranded from their flock,” said BirdLife Malta in a Facebook post.
Sightings of Greater Flamingos at this time of the year are not uncommon, as they would be migrating from one lagoon to another in the Mediterranean now that breeding season is over. In fact, one such flock was seen yesterday offshore from Valletta, flying northwards.
“When single flamingos are seen, this might mean that they would be in distress, probably tired from migration or injured. Juveniles are easily distinguishable from adults because they do not display the typical pink colours of this bird, but are grey.”
The incident was all captured on video and shows beachgoers respecting the space of the flamingo until BirdLife come to rescue it. It has been taken to the government vet for diagnosis.
If you spot a flamingo in distress please reach out to BirdLife on 2134 7646 (or on 7925 5697 after office hours) immediately.