English and Scientific names:

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) 

Number of individuals: 

One adult (4 years old- banded as a flightless juvenile at Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve on n. coast of Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico in spring 2005)

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Cameron Parish

Specific Locality:

freshwater impoundment off LA-82 (south side), ca. 5.25 mi. E of Mermentau River bridge, Grand Chenier

Date(s) when observed:

3 May 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  

~7:35-9:15 AM CDT

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

Baton Rouge, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Marty Guidry  

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Phillip Wallace, Curt Sorrells (2 May), Steve Cardiff, Donna Dittmann, Paul Conover (3 May), most recently Charles Lyon (9 May), m. ob.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Clear sky with optimal morning sunlight.  Sun angle fairly high and rising.  Backlighting or glare not a problem.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Nikon Fieldscope w/ 20-60x optical zoom, Canon Powershot SD 1100 IS (equipment in good condition)

Distance to bird(s): 

ca. 150-300 meters

Duration of observation:

~1 hr, 45 min.


Large, shallow freshwater impoundment w/ emergent (vegetated) terraces built to trap nutrients and sediments for storm protection and erosion control.  Impoundment surrounded by both freshwater and tidal marshes and chenier ridge.

Behavior of bird: 

The flamingo was observed in flight, foraging, and at rest.  At 7:35 AM, it flew in from the east and put down where its presumed mate (an escaped captive Greater Flamingo from the Sedgwick Co. Zoo in Wichita, KS) foraged alone throughout most of the previous day, 2 May.  However, this time the American (HDNT) arrived without the Greater.  At first, it landed on an exposed spit of mudflat ca. 300 meters off the road.  It was seemingly wary and restless, as it lifted off and put down several times in different areas of the impoundment.  At times, it would stop and look around for prolonged periods of time, as if searching for its mate.  Just when it appeared to be settled, it took flight and headed west out of sight.  About fifteen to twenty minutes later, it came gliding back to where it had been foraging for nearly an hour earlier.  Through mid-morning, the bird foraged and preened intermittently around the terraces in the impoundment, coming to within ca. 150 meters of the road.



A long-necked, long-legged almost entirely pink wading bird.  Darker rosy-pink on head, neck, and underparts.  Upperparts and wing coverts light pink.  In flight, the black primaries and secondaries are striking.  Its extraordinarily long neck and legs give the bird a very disproportional look in flight.  An oddly-shaped, tricolored bill with dull gray base (horn facial skin), pinkish middle 1/3, and black tip.  Bright yellow irides.  Pink legs and feet.  Yellow leg band above the joint on right leg with black letters “HDNT”.



Similar species:

No similar birds.  Probably the most recognizable bird in the World.  American (Caribbean) Flamingos are very distinct from other (mainly Old World) species.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes, digiscoped photos by Devin Bosler.  Yes, attached.

Previous experience with this species: 

Not much experience with flamingos in the wild.  Only previous experience involved this individual as an immature bird on a dredge/shell-spoil island in Aransas Bay nr. Fulton, TX (Aransas Co.) on 21 Jan 2006 (first discovered on the Texas coast in October 2005- possibly as a result of Hurricane Rita in late Sep 2005).

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005).  

This description is written from: 

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


Yes, positive.


Devin Bosler 

Date and time: 

12 May 2009 

2:00 PM CDT