BIRDS OF PARADISE

Charter Yacht Sweet Escape in the Southern Bahamas for an Audubon Adventure.

The Flamingo is the national bird of The Bahamas.  The West Indian Flamingo which once roamed the entire neo-tropical region (tropical Americas) was hunted to a near extinction. Today the West Indian Flamingo is mostly found on the island of Great Inagua in the Bahamas but has also recolonized islands in the Bahamas such as Mayaguana, Crooked and Acklin islands, Exumas, Long Island and Andros. These photographs are from a small group that flew by while Yacht Sweet Escape was on Charter in Crooked Island, the Southern Bahamas, February 2019. The mating season usually starts March and that is when you are more likely to see them. During the Southern Bahamas charter in February, our guests were lucky to have seen fabulous flamingos on several occasions, as well as having encountered other interesting wildlife including sperm whales, pilot whales, several species of turtles, sting rays, lemon sharks, and bats!

Flamingo Facts:

  • Flamingos emerged early on after the extinction of the dinosaurs, with their cousin or possible ancestor, Juncitarsus, appearing in the fossil record about fifty million years ago. 

  • What appears to be the flamingo knee — half-way down the leg — is actually an ankle. What appears to be the ankle is actually where the toe starts. The West Indian Flamingo has a large, heavy, down curved bill that is most often described as “strange”.  Adult West Indian Flamingos can reach up to five feet in height.

  • These birds prefer the salt life, whether it’s saline lagoons, muddy flats, or shallow coastal lakes. They are tough creatures, able to tolerate two times the salinity of sea water and alkalinity up to pH 10.5, which would dissolve human skin.

  • The West Indian Flamingo is also refered to as the American, Caribbean or Rosey Flamingo. There are 6 type of Flamingos in the world. The West Indian Flamingo has also recolonized other countries such as Aruba; Brazil; Colombia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Mexico; Netherlands Antilles; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States and Venezuela.

Booby Cay, Bahamas: Important Bird Area

Brown Booby off Yacht Sweet Escape, Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas February, 2019

Brown Booby off Yacht Sweet Escape, Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas February, 2019

Booby Cay lies to the east of mainland Mayaguana in the remote Southern Bahamas. It gets its name from the flock of Brown Boobies that call it home. It is also a habitat for a species of small rock iguanas, only found there, and descendants of wild goats left behind by early settlers.

The Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster, nests on Booby Cay, and White-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon lepturus, nest on the cliffs at Northwest Point. Non-breeding numbers of Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra, and Royal Tern, Sterna maxima, are also regionally important. Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens, nest in this Important Bird Area. The wetlands support shorebirds, ducks, herons and egrets. Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens, is apparently common, and up to 200 Caribbean Flamingo, Phoenicopterus rubber, frequent the wetlands at Blackwood Point. The Near Threatened Whitecrowned Pigeon, Patagioenas leucocephala, breed in this IBA.

APRIL 2019