3. It’s mostly juveniles that land in Malta.
Flamingos are known to be social birds, sticking together and forming close bonds… so when one juvenile bird lands alone, as is often the case in Malta, alarm bells go off for bird-lovers.
“These flocks will always include their parents. In most cases, the flock returns back for the tired juveniles… but if they see that the juveniles cannot make it, they continue without them,” he points out.
4. Breeding numbers are on the increase.
“One reason for this early migration is probably due to the fact that their breeding numbers have increased and hence the larger numbers being recorded in the Maltese islands,” he continues.
“Since the juveniles are only born a few months before, sometimes some individuals might not have flight muscles developed well and thus can become more tired or exhausted during long flights. Often they are left behind from the large flock they are migrating with and often they land at the nearest land they find,” Coleiro said.
6. Flamingo colonies can be found throughout the Mediterranean, in places like Tunisia, Algeria, France, Turkey, Sardinia and Sicily.
“The flocks we see in Malta come from many of these countries,” he said.
7. With the chance of a flamingo landing unexpectedly in Malta, Coleiro explains what should be done if you come across a tired flamingo.
“When someone sees a stranded or tired flamingo they should follow these steps. If the flamingo is close to a road, stand in its way to stop it from moving forward. Call BirdLife Malta’s emergency number 21347646. Do not touch it – flamingo necks and legs are very delicate. And do not give it food or water – their digestive tract is very delicate,” he ends.
Cover photo: left, Nicholas Galea, top right inset, Emanuel Mallia.
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