CORMORANT POINT - FLAMINGOS, UGLY SPIDERS, SANDY BEACHES OH MY!!!
Cormorant Point Travel Blog› entry 9 of 22 › view all entries
DAY 5 (WALKING ON THE BEACH AND SAW SEA TURTLE NESTS AND FLAMINGOS)
Galapagos Flamingos are tall wading birds with pink plumage, long necks and legs and a distinctive down curved bill. They belong to the Phoenicopteridae in their own order of Phoenicopteriformes with 5 species worldwide (Greater, Lesser, Andean, Chilean and James's), occurring in the Americas, Africa and southern Europe and Asia. In older classifications they are put in the order of Ciconiiformes with the storks and herons, which are seen as their closest relations but some suggest closer relationships with ducks and geese or even stilts and avocets. Ecuador boasts of two species, the Greater Flamingo, commonly seen and breeding in the Galapagos islands and the Chilean Flamingo, seen more rarely in the lagoons of the southwestern regions.
Flamingos are very unique in many aspects and their classification is debated and closest relations are disputed among geese, herons or stilts as they possess similarities with all three groups. The beautiful pinkish color is obtained as adults with young birds (see photo to left) still mostly missing it. The color is then maintained by their diet of shrimps and captive birds lose often their color with an improper diet. Also once the feathers are plucked the pink fades as well which was a blessing in disguise when many other wild birds were killed for their plumes.
Flamingos are waders and are found in groups in saline lakes and coastal lagoons of the warmer subtropical and tropical regions of the world with the Andean species (Andean, Chilean and James's) ranging up high in the Andes.
Flamingos feed mostly on algae, shrimps and other aquactic invertebrates. Dangling down their head, the downcurved bill is then parallel with the bottom and swinging their heads side to side they suck in water and filter it through their specialized bill with the prey being traped inside. Feeding like that they keep their neck and head underneath the water while walking ahead (all photos of Greater Flamingos taken at various lagoons in the Galapagos).
Flamingos breed in large colonies and perform group displays before that.
The visit to Punta Cormorant offers two contrasting beaches. Arriving on shore you will encounter a green sand beach (the green sand is caused by the olivine crystals derived silicates or magnesium and iron) from here you will follow the trail leading to a lagoon where Pink Flamingoes and other shore birds can be seen in the distance making their home.