Jul 20

The greater flamingo has started breeding in Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi, following a ten year absence from the region, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has revealed.

Greater flamingos with chicks (c) EAD

Greater flamingos with chicks (c) EAD

The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, which is managed by the EAD, is currently home to nearly 1,600 greater flamingos. However, according to the team of EAD scientists monitoring the birds, this is the first occurrence of successful breeding by the greater flamingo at the reserve in almost a decade.

As part of routine monitoring, the EAD’s Bird Conservation team recorded nests of the greater flamingo at several locations across Al Wathba Lake. The team have so far observed around 90 chicks, with more chicks expected to hatch in the coming weeks.

The breeding by flamingos in this Reserve is further evidence that protecting such areas is crucial in the preservation of our biodiversity. The return of the breeding colony is a major milestone for the Agency’s flamingo conservation efforts and the management of the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve,” said H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the EAD.

She continues, “Our tracking programme allows us to observe their migration patterns and enables us to see what is needed to support a healthy habitat for these important birds.”

Photo of greater flamingos in flight

Greater flamingos in flight

Between 2005 and 2010, the EAD have tagged and tracked a total of six flamingos.

According to Dr Salim Javed, Head of the Bird Conservation Programme and Manager, Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring at EAD, the bird tracking programme has allowed for valuable data to be collected over the last six years.

“Our monitoring of flamingos has helped us understand the trend in numbers and discover new information such as the flamingo breeding colony discovered in Bul Syayeef in 2009 and the one at Al Wathba last month,” says Dr Javed.

Photo of greater flamingo displaying wings

Greater flamingo displaying wings

The greater flamingo is a flagship species for conservation in the UAE and, in addition to Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, has successfully bred at Shahama and Bul Syayeef, all in Abu Dhabi.

Find out more about ARKive’s principal sponsor – the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

Visit ARKive’s Jewels of the UAE pages to discover more about the wildlife of the United Arab Emirates.

Find out more about the greater flamingo on ARKive.

Helen Roddis, ARKive Species Text Author