October 23, 2016
In a rarest of rare sighting, birders of the Coimbatore Nature Society spotted four Greater flamingos (two adults and two juveniles) in the Achankulam wetlands (also known as Neelambur wetland).
This is only the third such sighting of the exotic bird recorded in the past few years in the wetlands of Coimbatore, and only the first time that adult flamingos were accompanied by juveniles.
Four years back, a lone juvenile was sighted by birder Appavu Pavendan. The present sighting by birders Rajnikanth, Renuka and Kishore has generated a lot of excitement among city naturalists.
“The greater flamingos are passage migrants and this is only a stopover point, as the wetlands here are not the habitual feeding grounds for flamingos, which migrate from Kutch in Gujarat during winters,” said Balaji of Coimbatore Nature Society.
The greater flamingos will not stay here long and are expected to fly to Point Calimere, the swampy wetland system and Ramsar conservation convention site situated on the Coromandel coast. Some flamingo colonies might even go further down south in search of feeding grounds near Thoothukudi and Rameshwaram. Flamingos feed on benthos organisms that are found in abundance in swampy coastal wetlands and get their pink colouration from their diet.
The earlier sightings of these exotic birds were reported from Singanallur Lake four years ago and at Pettikuppi near Karamadai. But only juvenile birds were sighted then. “We need to conserve our wetland systems in Coimbatore to attract avian visitors,” said P R Selvaraj, president of Coimbatore Nature Society.