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New Flamingo Stamps Released

Bahamas Postal Service Releases Caribbean Flamingo Stamp Issue

Nassau, Bahamas – The Bahamas Postal Service in association with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has produced the Caribbean stamp issue.  The issue, which has recently been released, illustrates the National Bird of The Bahamas.

The flamingo is a protected species and is watched over by the Society for the Protection of the Flamingo in The Bahamas through the Bahamas National trust, a statutory body set up in l959.

The large breeding colony of flamingos, which live in Great Inagua, is one of three major nesting groups found in the West Indian Region. The other two are in the Yucatan, Mexico and Bonaire of the Netherlands Antilles.

The unique features of the Caribbean flamingos include their long spindly legs and feet, long and gracefully curved necks and bright pink feathers, legs and webbed feet. Another unique feature is their large hooked bill, which is pink with a black tip. Generally, they grow to a height of 47 to 55 inches and have a wingspan of around five feet. Both male and female flamingos are similar in appearance; however, males tend to be larger than the females.

These beautiful birds generally breed between March and mid-July, and normally court each other with a variety of head movements, marching, wing displays and vocalisation. They construct large nests out of mud that may reach a foot in height and the female will usually lay one or two eggs which she and the male would take turns to incubate, folding their legs and straddling the nests. Eggs are elongated and chalky white with a blood red yolk and take approximately one month to incubate. Young birds are born with ability to run and swim but do not resemble their parents. They are fed by regurgitation and the pink colouring comes from eating shrimp and other sea creatures containing carotenoid pigments, which are deposited into the feathers and skin. They are fledged in around 75 days.

Chicks reach adult size in 1 ½  – 2 years but don’t have adult plumage for 2 – 4 years. In the wild, flamingos can live up to 30 years. In captivity their life span can be longer.

They make a goose-like honking sound and chicks even make calls while still in the egg. Flamingos prefer areas with plenty of mud and water such as mudflats, brackish lakes and shallow coastal lagoons. They are sociable creatures and live and breed in large colonies of several hundred or even several thousand birds.

By Betty Vedrine
Bahamas Information Services

Posted in Lifestyle

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