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327 flamingo chicks ringed on the salt marshes of Aigues-Mortes!

Never before seen on the salt marshes of Aigues-Mortes: more than 20,000 couples of Greater Flamingos have invested this year this site in the Camargue Gardoise, to reproduce! This is a great reward for the efforts made by the Salins group, which worked to ensure that conditions were particularly favorable. The saltworks turn out to be a mosaic of natural environments of great biological richness.

Today more than 12,000 flamingo chicks are born. The Tour du Valat, in partnership with the Salins Group, led an exceptional and delicate operation on 5 August: the ringing of 300 chicks. This year, due to the health situation, the ringing operation had a particular format. Only about twenty volunteers (instead of the usual 180), supervised by the scientific staff of the Tour du Valat, took part in it at dawn. This operation helped to improve knowledge of this emblematic bird of the Camargue.

Flamingo ringing on August 5, 2020 © Fabrice Pavanello

The ringing, an essential step for the study of flamingos

Ringing consists in equipping each chick with a plastic ring on which a unique code is engraved, readable from a distance. The chicks, gathered in a nursery, are encircled by the volunteers and brought back to an enclosure where they are then taken in hand to be ringed, weighed and measured. Each chick is then released into the pond where it joins the nursery.

These rings, regularly read by ornithologists all over the Mediterranean basin, constitute a great source of information by making it possible to study the movements of each flamingo and to know its lifespan, the frequency of its reproduction, its breeding and feeding sites, etc.

A long-term research program to make the right management choices

Ringing is part of a study program initiated at the creation of the Tour du Valat in 1954, and strongly structured from 1977 with the annual marking of several hundred chicks. This program is today conducted jointly in France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Algeria and Mauritania as part of an international network. More than 700,000 ring readings all over the Mediterranean basin have thus enabled a better understanding of the behaviour of this amazing species and the adoption of appropriate conservation measures. Thanks to the combined action of researchers and wetland managers, flamingo populations have today reached a satisfactory level for the safeguarding of the species.

Greater Flamingos, ambassadors of wetlands

Lagoons, estuaries, deltas, marshes, lakes, ponds, rivers… Wetlands are among the most productive environments in the world and provide essential resources and services. They are also invaluable reservoirs of biodiversity. Yet over the last 50 years, nearly 50% of the wetlands in the Mediterranean basin have been destroyed. Pressures are particularly strong on coastal wetlands, where flamingos live. These emblematic birds, dependent on shallow brackish and salt water lagoons, are particularly fond of salt marshes. They therefore remain a vulnerable species, as most of the wetlands on which they depend are threatened.

Continue the adventure by sponsoring a Greater Flamingo

Sponsorship is an original and fun way to get to know Greater Flamingos better while helping to save them and protect the wetlands they love so much! Sponsorship means direct participation in the study and protection of Greater Flamingos by financing, among other things, population monitoring activities as well as the purchase of the necessary equipment for observers from North Africa, West Africa and the Middle East. Becoming a sponsor allows you to be informed of the movements of your godchild when he or she is sighted and to receive regular news from neighboring colonies, videos and beautiful photos of flamingos.

➡️ Read more on Greater Flamingo sponsorship [1]


Reportage France 3 (French TV) during the ringing of August 5, 2020