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1 September 2002 Patterns of Abundance, Distribution and Habitat Use of Flamingos in the High Andes, South America
Virginia Mascitti, Stella Maris Bonaventura
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Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), Andean Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) and James’ Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) occur in the high Andes water bodies of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Perú. The objectives of this study were to analyze seasonal variations in flamingo abundance and movements related to climatic conditions, and to identify the physical characteristics of water bodies determining the seasonal distribution and abundance. Flamingo numbers reached a peak in summer and diminished in winter. Within the high Andes region, the Andean Flamingo was mainly found in the Dry and Dry-cold climatic sub-regions during summer. This species moved into the Dry sub-region in winter. In summer, James’ Flamingo primarily occurred in water bodies of the Dry-cold sub-region. During winter, some individuals remained in the Dry-cold sub-region, and others moved to the Wet, Dry and Desert sub-regions. In summer, Chilean Flamingo occurred principally in the Dry sub-region. In winter, few remained in the Dry sub-region, and most birds moved to the Wet sub-region. These seasonal changes in flamingo numbers within the high Andes show that in winter, these birds move from sub-regions with extreme climatic conditions (Desert and Dry-cold sub-regions) to those with more suitable conditions (Wet and Dry sub-regions). The seasonal fluctuation in abundance might be explained by intra- and inter-regional movements in response to adverse climatic conditions. The relationships between water body physical characteristics and flamingo species show that the Chilean Flamingo mainly used lakes, both in summer and winter. James’ Flamingo usually used saline playa-lakes at high altitudes in summer and winter. Andean Flamingo selected salt-flats during summer and lakes in winter. It is suggested that Chilean and James’ Flamingos are habitat-specialists and the Andean Flamingo is a habitat-generalist.

Virginia Mascitti and Stella Maris Bonaventura "Patterns of Abundance, Distribution and Habitat Use of Flamingos in the High Andes, South America," Waterbirds 25(3), 358-365, (1 September 2002).[0358:POADAH]2.0.CO;2
Received: 15 October 2001; Accepted: 1 February 2002; Published: 1 September 2002

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