Black flamingo spotted at Gauteng nature reserve

Bird watchers from all over are flocking to the bird sanctuary situated on the East Rand after this rare sighting.

A recent sighting of a black flamingo of the lesser flamingo species has caused excitement among bird watchers at the Marievale Nature Reserve.

“The first sighting of a black flamingo at the reserve was in August by a member of the Friends of the Marievale Nature Reserve Group, Andy van Dyk,” says Dee Johnson of the reserve.

The black flamingo has a rare form of melanism (black pigmentation).

The rare black flamingo. Photo: Andy van Dyk.

According to Johnson, many bird watchers took to Facebook after someone posted a photo of the bird. Bird watchers and experts debated and ultimately decided it was indeed a black flamingo spotted at the reserve.

“A black flamingo was spotted in Cyprus nearly two years ago,” Johnson adds.

“After the sighting at the Marievale Nature Reserve, someone saw another black flamingo at the Chrissiesmeer in mid-September. We have also received reports of sightings at the pans near Jameson Park on the road between Nigel and Heidelberg.”

Another photo of the rare black flamingo. Photo: Andy van Dyk.

According to Johnson, bird watchers have flocked to the reserve, a declared Ramsar sight, hoping to spot another or possibly the same black flamingo.

This Ramsar site is an internationally recognised wetland of importance and a haven for migratory birds. The Friends of Marievale Nature Reserve are involved in improving and maintaining the facilities in co-operation with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The current low water levels in the reserve are the ideal habitat for flamingos and other water waders.

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