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Andean Flamingo Phoenicoparrus andinus

This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has undergone a rapid population decline over the past three generations, owing to exploitation and declines in habitat quality. Exploitation has now decreased and recent survey data suggest that the population is now stable; however, it remains much depleted compared with past numbers.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Phoenicopterus andinus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Phoenicopterus andinus Collar et al. (1994)

102-110 cm. Large flamingo. Pale pink body with brighter upperparts, deep vinaceous-pink lower neck, breast and wing-coverts. Large, black, triangular patch of primaries visible when perched. Pale yellow and black bill. Yellow legs. Immature greyish with bold streaks in the upperparts. Similar spp. Other flamingos differ in size, leg colour and tertial colour. Voice Nasal, raspy calls in colonies.

Distribution and population
Phoenicoparrus andinus occurs on the high Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, with a resident population of c.100 at Laguna Mar Chiquita, Córdoba, lowland Argentina (Michelutti 1994, Cobos et al. 1999). It breeds at c.10 localities, notably Laguna Colorada and other salt-lakes in south-western Bolivia, Laguna de Salinas (Peru) and Salar de Atacama (Chile) (Rocha 1994, Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998, O. Rocha in litt. 2000). Breeding has been recorded in Argentina (Laguna Brava), but may only occur during strong El Niño years (Bucher et al. 2000). Population assessments are difficult and vary greatly (Hurlbert 1978, 1981, Scott and Carbonell 1986, Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998), but 50,000-100,000 individuals (Rocha and Quiroga 1997) may have been realistic until the mid-1980s. The 34,000 estimated in 1997 (Rocha and Quiroga 1997), suggests that it declined rapidly during the preceding 10-15 years (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998). Breeding success appears to be consistently low (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998), and thus declines may continue for many years, because flamingos have a high longevity (20-50 years) (del Hoyo 1992); however, data from International Simultaneous Census and Simultaneous Census of Network Sites, including over 38,000 individuals recorded in 2010 (Marconi et al. 2011), suggest that the population may have been stable during 1997-2010.

Population justification
The population estimate is derived from Rocha & Quiroga (1997), Flamingo Specialist Group & Grupo para la Conservaciande Flamencos Altoandinos in litt. (2005) to Wetlands International (2006); the total may be slightly higher as 38,675 individuals were counted in the 2010 International Simultaneous Census (Marconi et al. 2011).

Trend justification
From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, the population declined from around 50,000-100,000 individuals to 34,000 (Rocha and Quiroga 1997), indicating a rapid decline. Exploitation has now decreased and results from census data suggest that the population remained stable at least between 1997 and 2010 (Marconi et al. 2011).

It is largely restricted to high mountain alkaline and salt-lakes, at 2,300-4,500 m. It may be nomadic in search of temporally patchy food supplies (mainly diatoms [del Hoyo 1992]). It breeds colonially, laying only one egg (unless first egg predated), mainly in December-February (del Hoyo 1992, O. Rocha in litt. 2000).

The collecting of eggs to sell as food was intensive in the mid-20th century and the early 1980s, with thousands taken annually (Johnson 1965, Hurlbert 1981). Mining activities, unfavourable water-levels (owing to weather and manipulation), erosion of nest-sites and human disturbance may also affect productivity (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998). Outside protected areas in Bolivia, there is a low level of hunting for food, oils and feathers, especially targeting immatures and juveniles (Rocha and Quiroga 1997, O. Rocha in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix I. Breeding occurs in Salinas and Aguada Blanca Nature Reserve, Peru (Ugarte-Nunez and Mosaurieta-Echegaray 2000), Salar de Atacama National Flamingo Reserve (del Hoyo 1992), Chile, Las Chinchillas Provincial Natural Reserve, Argentina, and Eduardo Avaroa National Faunal Reserve, Bolivia, with a protected non-breeding site at Laguna de los Pozuelos Natural Monument, Argentina (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998). Conservation actions, locally including habitat management, prevention of egg-collecting and raising public awareness, are being undertaken (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998, O. Rocha in litt. 2000). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue surveying high Andean salt-lakes (J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999) to monitor known populations and locate additional ones. Protect more sites and raise the status of existing reserves (Rocha and Quiroga 1997, O. Rocha in litt. 2000). Guard unprotected nest-sites (Rocha and Quiroga 1997).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Bucher, E. H.; Chani, J. M.; Echevarria, A. L. 2000. Andean Flamigos breeding at Laguna Brava, la Rioja, Argentina. Waterbirds 23(Special publication): 119-120.

Cobos, V.; Miatello, R.; Baldo, J. 1999. Algunas especies de aves nuevas y otras con pocos registros para la provincia de Córdoba, Argentina. II. Nuestras Aves 39: 7-11.

del Hoyo, J. 1992. Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 508-526. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hurlbert, S. H. 1978. Results of five flamingo censuses conducted between November 1975 and December 1977. Department of Biology, San Diego State University, California, San Diego.

Hurlbert, S. H. 1981. Results of three flamingo censuses conducted between December 1978 and July 1980. Department of Biology, San Diego State University, California, San Diego.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Johnson, A. W. 1965. The birds of Chile and adjacent regions of Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Platt Establecimientos Gráficos, Buenos Aires.

Marconi, P., Sureda, A. L., Arengo, F., Aguilar, M. S., Amado, N., Alza, L., Rocha, O., Torres, R., Moschione, F., Romano, M., Sosa, H., Derlindati, E. 2011. Fourth simultaneous flamingo census in South America: preliminary results. Flamingo 18: 48-53.

Michelutti, P. L. 1994. Presencia de la Parina Chica (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) en la reserva de Mar Chiquita, Cordoba. Nuestras Aves 30: 26.

Rocha O., O. 1994. Contribución preliminar a la conservación y el conocimiento de la ecología de flamencos en la Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina "Eduardo Avaroa", Departamento Potosí, Bolivia. Academia Nacional de Ciencas de Bolivia, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, La Paz.

Rocha O., O.; Quiroga O., C. 1997. Primer censo simultáneo internacional de los flamencos Phoenicoparrus jamesi y Phoenicoparrus andinus en Argentina, Bolivia, Chile y Perú, con especial referencia y análisis al caso boliviano. Ecología en Bolivia 30: 33-42.

Scott, D. A.; Carbonell, M. 1986. A directory of Neotropical wetlands. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and International Waterfowl Research Bureau, Cambridge and Slimbridge, U.K.

Ugarte-Núñez, J. A.; Mosaurieta-Echegaray, L. 2000. Assessment of threats to Flamingos at the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Nature Reserve (Arequipa, Perú). Waterbirds 23(Special publication): 134-140.

Further web sources of information
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Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Pilgrim, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Chebez, J. & Rocha, O.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Phoenicoparrus andinus. Downloaded from on 02/08/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 02/08/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

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To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
Species name author Philippi, 1854
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 190,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species