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FISHER PAN, ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK, NAMIBIA
GREATER FLAMINGO, PHOENICOPTERUS ROSEUS

A flock of greater flamingos strides along Fisher Pan during rainy season.

Particular common during the onset of breeding a group of flamingos masses closely together, walking with an erect posture in a synchronized "quick-step", going first one direction and then another. The tail may be wagged during marching. Size of marching groups can range from a few flamingos to many thousands.

Flamingos feed on tiny crustaceans, plankton and grass found in salt water lakes and seas which also explains their pinkish color due to the intake of carotene in their food. They draw water into their beak, then force it out with their tounge, this traps the food particles on the tiny hairlike lamella.

It always is an exiting moment at the onset of the rainy season in Etosha to witness the first flamingos arriving. How they know that the Pan has filled with water is a mystery, as this does not happen every year. Flamingos are fairly shy and it is difficult to approach them closely. A dirt track running along side Fisher Pan sometimes dips below the water line which enabled me to capture this group at the same level from my land cruiser with my 600mm telephoto lens. Dark blue rain clouds have been building up the whole day and I got lucky as the sun peaked out for some minutes only, perfectly lighting these beautiful birds with a soft yellow glow. The impressionistic reflection in the water round of one of my favorite flamingo shots.

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