Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected that it will undergo a moderately rapid population decline over the next three generations owing to egg-harvesting, hunting, disturbance and the degradation of its habitat.

Population justification
The population was estimated to number 200,000 individuals by del Hoyo (1992) and Valqui et al. (2000); however, a coordinated census in 2010 found 283,000 individuals, and gave a total population estimate of 300,000 individuals (Marconi et al. 2011).

Trend justification
Recent survey data are not indicative of a decline in the population at present (Marconi et al. 2011); but it is suspected that the population will undergo a moderately rapid decline over the next three generations owing to egg-harvesting, hunting, disturbance and degradation of the species's habitats.

Distribution and population

Phoenicopterus chilensis breeds in central Peru (apparently erratically, irregularly and in small numbers) (M. A. Plenge in litt. 1999), Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and perhaps erratically in Paraguay (at least one breeding record, and perhaps increasing in the Chaco, with 5,200 wintering in 2005, R. P. Clay in litt. 2000, Lesterhuis et al. 2008), with a few wintering in Uruguay and south-eastern Brazil, and vagrants in Ecuador and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). In the mid-1970s, the population was estimated at 500,000 birds, but more recent figures of 100,000 in Argentina, up to 30,000 in Chile, and tens of thousands in Peru and Bolivia, suggested that no more than 200,000 individuals might persist; however, coordinated surveys in 2010 found 283,000 individuals and estimated the total population at 300,000 (Marconi et al. 2011).


It occurs on coastal mudflats, estuaries, lagoons and salt-lakes at elevations up to 4,500 m. Breeding habitat is typified by the presence of suitable salinities and islands with extensive surrounding mudflats - conditions that do not occur each year. At Mar Chiquita, birds bred in only nine of the 26 years to 1999.


It has probably been subject to intensive egg-harvesting since the arrival of humans in South America and, in recent years, egg-collectors have been responsible for the partial or complete failure of colonies in Bolivia (del Hoyo 1992, Flamingo CAP Questionnaire 1998). Mar Chiquita (Argentina), perhaps the most important breeding site, is threatened by abstraction of water for irrigation projects. Mining has wrought extensive habitat alteration, and the species also suffers from hunting and tourism-related disturbance (Flamingo CAP Questionnaire 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Extend and continue simultaneous surveys during the breeding season to monitor population. Introduce measures to control intensive egg-harvesting.


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

Arengo, F., Clay, R. & Plenge, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Phoenicopterus chilensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/08/2022.