The Greatest Bird Spectacle on Earth

11/16/2008
Cool Places
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Tags: Bird Spectacle, Nakuru Lake, Kenya
     
Located in central Kenya, the surface of the shallow lake of Nakuru is almost unequivocally pink.

Widely regarded as the greatest bird spectacle on earth, a myriad of over a million flamingos gather there to feed on the abundant blue-green algae which thrive in the warm alkaline waters, with their high soda content caused by intense evaporation in the burning African sun.

Lake Nakuru

The number of flamingoes on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. Scientists believe that the vast flamingo population at Nakuru can consume as much as 500 tons of algae every day.

They feed with their long necks bent down and their bills upside down in the water, using their tongues to pump in and out to suck in the salty, alkaline water and mud. Filters in the bill catch the microscopic algae floating in the water, as well as the small shrimps which give them their pink colour.

Lake Nakuru
This astonishing picture was taken by specialist aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

In 1961, the Lake Nakuru National Park was created around the lake to protect this spectacle. Yet, conservationists are increasingly concerned that pollution from local industries could be causing the flamingo population at Lake Nakuru to fall.

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