Andean Flamingo Phoenicoparrus andinus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has undergone a rapid population decline over the past three generations, owing to exploitation and declines in habitat quality. Exploitation has now decreased and recent survey data suggest that the population is now stable; however, it remains much depleted compared with past numbers.

Population justification
The population estimate is derived from Rocha & Quiroga (1997), Flamingo Specialist Group & Grupo para la Conservación de Flamencos Altoandinos in litt. (2005) to Wetlands International (2006); the total may be slightly higher as 38,675 individuals were counted in the 2010 International Simultaneous Census (Marconi et al. 2011).

Trend justification
From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, the population declined from around 50,000-100,000 individuals to 34,000 (Rocha and Quiroga 1997), indicating a rapid decline. Exploitation has now decreased and results from census data suggest that the population remained stable at least between 1997 and 2010 (Marconi et al. 2011).

Distribution and population

Phoenicoparrus andinus occurs on the high Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, with a resident population of c.100 at Laguna Mar Chiquita, Córdoba, lowland Argentina (Michelutti 1994, Cobos et al. 1999). It breeds at c.10 localities, notably Laguna Colorada and other salt-lakes in south-western Bolivia, Laguna de Salinas (Peru) and Salar de Atacama (Chile) (Rocha 1994, Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998, O. Rocha in litt. 2000). Breeding has been recorded in Argentina (Laguna Brava), but may only occur during strong El Niño years (Bucher et al. 2000). Population assessments are difficult and vary greatly (Hurlbert 1978, 1981, Scott and Carbonell 1986, Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998), but 50,000-100,000 individuals (Rocha and Quiroga 1997) may have been realistic until the mid-1980s. The 34,000 estimated in 1997 (Rocha and Quiroga 1997), suggests that it declined rapidly during the preceding 10-15 years (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998). Breeding success appears to be consistently low (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998), and thus declines may continue for many years, because flamingos have a high longevity (20-50 years) (del Hoyo 1992); however, data from International Simultaneous Census and Simultaneous Census of Network Sites, including over 38,000 individuals recorded in 2010 (Marconi et al. 2011), suggest that the population may have been stable during 1997-2010.


It is largely restricted to high mountain alkaline and salt-lakes, at 2,300-4,500 m. It may be nomadic in search of temporally patchy food supplies (mainly diatoms [del Hoyo 1992]). It breeds colonially, laying only one egg (unless first egg predated), mainly in December-February (del Hoyo 1992, O. Rocha in litt. 2000).


The collecting of eggs to sell as food was intensive in the mid-20th century and the early 1980s, with thousands taken annually (Johnson 1965, Hurlbert 1981). Mining activities, unfavourable water-levels (owing to weather and manipulation), erosion of nest-sites and human disturbance may also affect productivity (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998). Outside protected areas in Bolivia, there is a low level of hunting for food, oils and feathers, especially targeting immatures and juveniles (Rocha and Quiroga 1997, O. Rocha in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix I. Breeding occurs in Salinas and Aguada Blanca Nature Reserve, Peru (Ugarte-Nunez and Mosaurieta-Echegaray 2000), Salar de Atacama National Flamingo Reserve (del Hoyo 1992), Chile, Las Chinchillas Provincial Natural Reserve, Argentina, and Eduardo Avaroa National Faunal Reserve, Bolivia, with a protected non-breeding site at Laguna de los Pozuelos Natural Monument, Argentina (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998). Conservation actions, locally including habitat management, prevention of egg-collecting and raising public awareness, are being undertaken (Flamingo Action Plan Questionnaire 1998, O. Rocha in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue surveying high Andean salt-lakes (J. C. Chebez in litt. 1999) to monitor known populations and locate additional ones. Protect more sites and raise the status of existing reserves (Rocha and Quiroga 1997, O. Rocha in litt. 2000). Guard unprotected nest-sites (Rocha and Quiroga 1997).


102-110 cm. Large flamingo. Pale pink body with brighter upperparts, deep vinaceous-pink lower neck, breast and wing-coverts. Large, black, triangular patch of primaries visible when perched. Pale yellow and black bill. Yellow legs. Immature greyish with bold streaks in the upperparts. Similar spp. Other flamingos differ in size, leg colour and tertial colour. Voice Nasal, raspy calls in colonies.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Pilgrim, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Sharpe, C J

Chebez, J., Rocha, O.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2017) Species factsheet: Phoenicoparrus andinus. Downloaded from on 18/10/2017. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2017) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 18/10/2017.