Puna Flamingo Phoenicoparrus jamesi


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 primarily to habitat loss and degradation.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 106,000 individuals based on coordinated census in 2010 (Marconi et al. 2011).

Trend justification
Trends since the 1990s have been positive, indicating the start of a recovery, and census data suggest that the population may have stabilised (Marconi et al. 2011). Despite this, it is suspected that the population will undergo a moderately rapid decline over the next three generations owing mainly to habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

Phoenicoparrus jamesi occurs on the high Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, with small numbers occurring around the lowland Laguna Mar Chiquita, Argentina (Cobos et al. 1999). Key sites include Laguna Grande and Lagunas de Vilama in Argentina, Laguna Colorada in Bolivia, and Salar de Surire in Chile; in 2010 these four wetlands held 50% of the total population (Marconi et al. 2011). In particular Laguna Colorada, within Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, has held up to 41,000 birds (with over 25,000 in the reserve in 2010), and has been a key site for recruitment (Rocha 1994, Flamingo CAP Questionnaire 1998, Caziani et al. 2007, Marconi et al. 2011). The population probably declined rapidly during the 20th century (Flamingo CAP Questionnaire 1998), but has started to increase (O. Rocha in litt. 2000), presumably owing to the success of conservation programmes, and a coordinated census in 2005 estimated the population to be 100,000 birds (unpublished information supplied by Wetlands International Specialist Groups to Wetlands International 2006). A total of 106,000 individuals counted in a coordinated census of similar coverage in 2010 suggests that the population may have stabilised (Marconi et al. 2011); however, breeding success varies greatly from year to year, with threats mostly impacting on productivity.


It is found mainly on saline lakes in the high Andean plateaus, where it feeds mainly on diatoms, but it is also a partial elevational migrant which moves to lower altitude lakes in the non-breeding season.


Levels of diatoms may be affected by climate change to the detriment of flamingo food resources. Egg-collecting and hunting were intensive during the 20th century (Johnson 1965, Hurlbert 1981), but have been controlled in protected areas. Mining activity and the associated demand for water, as well as tourism are further threats to some wetlands.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The key protected area is Eduardo Avaroa National Faunal Reserve, Bolivia (O. Rocha in litt. 2000). International and national conservation programmes have been organised in all four countries (Flamingo CAP Questionnaire 1998) (O. Rocha in litt. 2000), and will hopefully continue to encourage population growth. CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix I and II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue simultaneous surveys during breeding season to monitor population. Increase network of protected areas to include vital sites in Argentina (Caziani et al. 2007). Investigate feasibility of creating a trinational reserve integrating management of sites in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile to protect key breeding colonies and congregation sites (Caziani et al. 2007).


90-92 cm. A small and delicate flamingo. Very pale pink. Bright carmine streaks around neck and on back. Pinker towards head. Only a small amount of black in wings is seen when perched. Bright red skin around eye. Bright yellow bill with only short drooping black. Red legs. Immature is greyish with narrow streaks on upperparts. Similar spp Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis is pinker, with a paler and longer bill. Andean Flamingo P. andinus is larger showing more black in wings and bill and has yellow legs. Voice Fluted rattles. 


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Pilgrim, J., Stuart, T., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Arengo, F. & Rocha, O.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Phoenicoparrus jamesi. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/puna-flamingo-phoenicoparrus-jamesi on 28/11/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 28/11/2023.