|The size and typical
pink colour of these birds make them unmistakable. The
Greater Flamingo has pink feathers and black tipped wings
with a very long neck, pink legs and webbed pink feet.
They stand up to 150cm high and can weigh up to 3kg. The
males and females look alike with the males being slightly
bigger than the females.
These birds live in large colonies of up to 10 000
birds called flocks or stands, in mudflats and shallow
coastal saltwater lagoons and spend most of the day
feeding. Flamingos are filter feeders and live off algae
and tiny animals such as shrimps, mollusks, etc. which
live in the mud at the bottom of shallow pools.
Males and females mate for life and at the beginning
of the nesting season, flamingos perform mass courtship
displays where hundreds of birds move together in a
coordinated walk. After mating they build a nest
from mud in which a single egg is laid. The chick is
hatched after an incubation period of 28 days and is fed
crop milk – a creamy pink liquid – for the
first three to four weeks. After ten weeks the chick
fledges but remain in a crèche for another
month and only reaches adulthood at two years of
– Dromaius novaehollandiae
|The emu has been
resident in Australia for at least 80 million years and
is this country’s largest bird, reaching a size of
1.9m and weighing in at 30 – 45kg. Due to the sheer
size and weight of this bird it is unable to fly but is
a fast runner reaching speeds of up to 65kmph for short
bursts. It is also an expert swimmer.
nest in the winter during which the male and female stay together for five months for the necessary
courtship, nest building and egg laying. Five to fifteen
dark green eggs are laid which are incubated by the
male for 55days during which time he will not feed,
drink, defecate or leave the nest. After hatching Dad
will look after the chicks until they reach the age
of 6 months after which they have to make their own
way in the world.
|- Leptoptilos crumeniferus
most of tropical Africa, these huge and unmistakable
storks can normally be found around carcasses and refuse
dumps indulging in their scavenging ways. Although classified
as scavengers, Marabou Storks also catch small reptiles
and rodents and will eat just about any kind of animal,
dead or alive.
Standing 1.5m tall and weighing 9kg,
this bird is one of the largest flying birds in the
world with a wingspan approaching 2.9m.
Although mute due to the absence of a voice box (syrinx),
they communicate by clattering their bills especially
during courtship. Eggs are laid on a platform of sticks
with both parents taking turns to incubate the eggs
for 31 days. Once hatched, the chicks will grow rapidly
in the first few weeks thanks to their parents’
constant supply of regurgitated food. Despite this rapid
growth rate, the chicks only fledge after a long
115 days and sexual maturity is reached at the age of
|– Pavo cristatus
|The Indian Peafowl
is the national bird of Sri Lanka and India and although
these colourful birds are commonly known as ‘peacocks’,
only the male bird goes by this name and females are called
Peafowl are terrestrial feeders, but roost
in trees and are weak flyers that can only fly for short
The males are easily regocnisable by their blue-green
or green coloured plumage whereas the females have a
mixture of dull-green, grey and brown feathers. Females
lack the typical long tail of the male but both sexes
have a head crest and both males and females display
their plumage, although for different reasons. Females
will display to ward off danger or other female competition
whereas males display to attract a potential mate.
Mating season starts in the early spring during which
the peacock will display his beautiful plumage by shaking
his feathers in the direction of the closest peahen.
After mating the female will lay an average of 7 eggs,
which will hatch after 30 days. Sexual maturity is reached
at the age of 2 years.