Flamingoes in the Camargue

Flamingoes in the Camargue

For years, flamingoes have nested on natural islets. The embankment of the Rhone has affected the natural evolution in of the Camargue. Natural islets have disappeared because of breakwaters built to avoid floods as well as salt water incursion.
Recently, flamingos have not been able to find the favourable conditions for nesting, resulting in less breeding.
Flamingoes remain fragile and vulnerable. They tend to nest in fewer and limited sites, chosen for their quietness and climatic conditions. Therefore, Flamingoes tend to avoid nesting in Camargue.
Nevertheless, since 1969 they have been coming back, settling on an islet located on the eastern side of the Fangassier lagoon. However, there is not enough room for the whole colony, and numerous flamingoes are compelled to settle on a neighbouring breakwater where they are not able to breed.

A nice story

In 1970, thanks to collaboration between the Tour du Valat; the Salins group, the Parc Naturel Regional de Camargue and WWF, the construction of an artificial islet in the Fangassier lagoon has provided a stable breeding site for the species (Johnson 1975 – 1997).
The experiment started to be successful in 1974. Two years later, after many necessary restorations, the islet has become their primary breeding site.

Ringing the flamingoes

Since 1977 the Tour du Valat has organised a research program and the ringing of Greater Flamingoes. 800 chicks are ringed every year. In 1984, an observation post was built so as to follow up breeding (recognize breeders, study the colony’s behaviour, etc.).
Nowadays, these birds are studied all around the Mediterranean, therefore allowing a better understanding of the global population.
This experience, organised by the Tour du Valat, tries to offer high level scientific results to the efforts of conservation, which have brought back the Greater Flamingo as a symbol of the Camargue.
Yet Flamingoes remain vulnerable because of briny, salted and low waters. A threat is hanging over most wetlands on which they depend: changes, drainage, pollution, water sports, etc.The survival of Flamingoes now dependent on efficient conservation measures taken in the Camargue, Andalusia, and all other concerned Mediterranean countries.

Send your ring reading to : flamingoring@tourduvalat.org

Flamingoes and rice

Since years, Flamingoes sometimes feed in rice fields, causing huge damage to agricultural lands when rice is at its first growing stage. Moreover, rice fields are becoming even more attractive as natural feeding sites drain. Therefore, the Tour du Valat, along with the Parc Naturel Regional suggest mid- and long term solutions to rice growers.

For example, they place lights and frightening guns at their disposal. The efficiency of these measures has not yet been proved, and this project may take many years before it is successful.

Photo: 

The crèche on the Fangassier lagoon in the Camargue
The crèche on the Fangassier lagoon in the Camargue
Greater Flamingoes at the Fangassier colony in the Camargue
Greater Flamingoes at the Fangassier colony in the Camargue
The construction of artificial nests at the Fangassier in the Camargue
The construction of artificial nests at the Fangassier in the Camargue
Adults and chicks on the Fangassier islet in the Camargue
Adults and chicks on the Fangassier islet in the Camargue
Flamingo banding at Camalti Tuzlasi, Gediz Delta (Turkey)
Flamingo banding at Camalti Tuzlasi, Gediz Delta (Turkey)
Measuring a Flamingo during the banding at Camalti Tuzlasi, Gediz Delta (Turkey)
Measuring a Flamingo during the banding at Camalti Tuzlasi, Gediz Delta (Turkey)
Corral for the Flamingo banding at Garaet Ezzemoul (Algeria)
Corral for the Flamingo banding at Garaet Ezzemoul (Algeria)

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