Lesser flamingo

Lesser Flamingo   Phoenicopterus minor


  • Phoenicopterus : Greek word phoinix –crimson; pteros –winged   {Red winged}
  • Minor : Latin word for “Smaller”

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Chhota raajhans, Guj: Nano balo, Nano hunj, Mar: Chota rohit, Te: Vankara mooti konga

Distribution in India: In non-breeding season found in parts of North, West and South India. Breeds in Gujarat

Description: Size of 80-90 cm. Most of the plumage is pinkish white. The bill is long and very dark. Female is slightly smaller.

Habitat: Found in Inland saline and alkaline lakes, and also coastal lagoons and breeds on mudflats.

Food Habits: It is entirely dependent on microscopic blue green algae and diatoms; to lesser extent small invertebrates which may partially substitute normal food in times of very low Spirulina densities. Usually feeds near surface in calm water, with bill only partly submerged; walks or very often swims, which is only way of reaching fair proportion of potential food supply in most lakes.

Breeding Habits: They breed in March-May in India. Breeding is in large, dense colonies from 20,000 to 200,000 pairs. The nest is normally a truncated mud cone with a shallow bowl on top. On rocky, mud less islands the nest is small pile of stones and debris. It lays a clutch of 1 egg . The incubation period is 28 days. The fledging period is 70-75 days. They do a provisioning of chicks with ‘flamingo milk’. Both the male and the female feed their chicks with a kind of crop milk, produced in glands lining the whole of the upper digestive tract (not just the crop). Production is stimulated by the hormone prolactin. The milk contains fat, protein, and red and white blood cells.