(2242) Phoeniconaias minor.
The Lesser Flamingo.
Phoenicopterus minor Geoffr., Bull. Soc. Philom., i, ii, p. 98, figs. 1-3 (1798; Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 410 (1898).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. General colour a bright pale pink; feathers at the base of the bill crimson ; the longest scapulars and median wing-coverts crimson, the latter edged paler; other wing-coverts and the edges of the under wing-coverts rosy; the greater under wing-coverts and quills black; axillaries crimson ; rectrices darker and with the outer webs tinged with crimson ; under tail-coverts subtipped with a tinge of crimson. Some old males, perhaps during the breeding-season only, have the feathers of the back with crimson shaft-stripes.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red minium; bill dark lake-red, with the tips black ; feet red (Antinori).
Measurements. Length 850 to 1,050 mm.; wing 329 to 354 mm.; tail about 120 to 142 mm.; culmen 100 to 118 mm.; tarsus about 190 to 242 mm.
Female. Similar to the male but smaller and paler, without the crimson scapulars, and with no crimson on the back or breast.
Measurements. Wing 310 to 325 mm.; culmen about 93 to 104 mm.
The young appear to be very like those of Phoenicopterus roseus but with a more rosy and less brown or buff tinge; altogether brighter, paler birds.
Distribution. This bird extends through South Africa but the extent of its range Northwards on the West Coast is still doubtful. In the East it is found on many parts of the coast as far North as Abyssinia and also in Madagascar. From N.E. Africa it extends to N. W. India.
Nidification. The Lesser Flamingo has been recorded from various parts of India from the end of September up to the beginning of July and cannot breed very far from our shores. In all probability most of the birds which visit us breed on the west coast of the Keel Sea and if such is the case there would be nothing very remarkable in the shortness of the time elapsing between the departure of the last birds and the arrival of the earliest ones in the following September and October.
The only note I can find regarding this Flamingo is that made in the Journal of the B. N. H. S. by the late E. Barnes, who says that he obtained an egg from a fisherman, who found it on a sand-bank in the Indus. This egg, from its very small size, he believed to have belonged to the present species. It measures 88.0 x 54.0 mm., whilst another egg taken in Tunis measures 85.4 x 53.4 mm.
Habits. This bird is only a rare visitor to the North-West of India. It has been recorded from Sind, Secunderabad, near Delhi, and on the Sambhur Lake, where Adams records it as occurring in great numbers but very irregularly. In its habits it seems to very closely resemble the Common Flamingo.