1575. Phoenicopterus roseus.
The Common Flamingo.
Phoenicopterus roseus, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii, p. 207 (1811); Blyth, Cat. p. 299 ; Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 509 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 775 ; Hume, S. F. i, p. 257; Adam, ibid. p. 400; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 25; v, pp. 234, 287 ; ix, p. 436; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 264; Davidson & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 92; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 91; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1092; Reid, S. F. x, p. 78; Davidson, ibid. p. 325; Hume, ibid. p. 513; Parker, Ibis, 1886, p. 188; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 12; Baker, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. xi, p. 2. Phoenicopterus antiquorum, Temm. Man. d'Orn. ed. 2, ii, p. 587 (1820) ; Lloyd, Ibis, 1873, p. 419; Blanf. Eastern Pers. ii, p. 300; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 491; id. Cat. no. 944; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 392; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 285; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 179; Lester, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. viii, p. 553. Phoenicopterus andersoni, Brooks, P. A. S. B. 1875, pp. 17, 48; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 414.
Bog-hans, Raj-hans, H.; Kan-thunti, Beng.; Pu-konga, Samdrapa-chilluka, Tel.; Punari, Tam. ; Urian, Tam. (Ceylon).
Coloration. Head, neck, body, and tail white, more or less suffused with rosy pink; upper surface of wing with the winglet, tertiaries, wing-lining near the edge of the wing, and axillaries deeper red, approaching cerise ; primaries, secondaries, and greater under wing-coverts black.
Young birds have the head, neck, and body whitish, tinged with greyish brown, especially on the upper neck; scapulars, interscapulars, and wing-coverts more or less brown, with dark shaft-stripes, axillaries pink ; quills brown. The adult dress is gradually acquired, after more than one moult.
Skin near eye and base of the bill flesh-colour; end of bill and edges of mandible black; irides yellow ; legs and feet pinkish red.
Length of male about 50; tail 6; wing 17.5; tarsus 14; bill from gape straight to point 4.5 : females are smaller, wing 15; tarsus 10.5.
Distribution. Africa, Southern Europe, Southern and Central Asia as far east as India and Lake Baikal. Common in the Punjab, Sind, Guzerat, and parts of Rajputana and the N. W. Provinces, about marshes and salt lakes ; rare in other parts of India, but found near the sea-coast, both in the peninsula and in Ceylon, though seldom seen inland ; very rare in Bengal, unknown further east in Assam and Burma.
Habits, &c. Flamingoes commonly occur in flocks, and haunt large shallow marshes and lakes (especially salt lakes) or the sea¬shore. They generally wade, but they can swim well, and I once saw a large flock in the Persian Gulf, resting on the sea, more than half a mile from land. They fly with the neck and feet stretched out, and flocks travel in a long wavy line, like Cranes. The food of Flamingoes consists, according to most authors, partly of small crustaceans, worms, and insects, with larvae and ova, partly of vegetable matter; but Gadow says essentially of organic slime, confervae, &c.
Flamingoes breed in colonies, each pair building a small mound of mud, hollow at the top, and rising a few inches above the shallow water. The nidification is represented in the ' Ibis' for 1884, pl, iv, p. 89. The eggs are white and chalky, and are said to be two in number, about the size of a goose's egg. It is probable that Flamingoes do breed in India, for recently a number of eggs, and, it is stated, two newly hatched birds, were brought to the Rao of Cutch from Khadir (Kharir or Kurreer) on the Rann, and the Rao was assured that the birds bred there in September and October. Flamingoes undoubtedly breed in large numbers towards the head of the Persian Gulf; and Legge and Parker have obtained evidence showing that they probably do so about March in South-western Ceylon ; but it should be remembered that in North-western India these birds are migratory, arriving about October, and remaining, if there is water, till May or June, and that around the Sambhar salt lake, where they abound in the cold season, their eggs have frequently been found, irregularly scattered, about May, and have occasionally been met with in November, but the birds never sit on such eggs. It is possible that the Cutch eggs may have been similarly dropped. Flamingoes are excellent eating when in good condition.