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Photographer's Note

I visited the Bird Gardens in Monte Casino recently. Monte Casino is a big shopping, gambling and entertainment venue in Johannesburg.

This is the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) with characteristic long legs and a long neck. Its habitat is freshwater lakes, salt pans, estuaries and open coast. Its call sounds like a 'honk honk', not unlike a farmyard goose.

It shows brilliant red patches in the forewings during flight. Usually it has a bright pink bill with a black tip, so I wondered why these ones had almost white bills. Some research on the internet gave me the following information about their color (and the lack of it, in this case):
1. Feather coloration is derived from carotenoid pigments found in a flamingo's food.
2. Male and female flamingo coloration is the same.
3. Newly-hatched chicks are gray or white.
4. Juveniles are grayish, taking approximately one to two years to obtain full adult coloration.
5. Parents lose their pink coloration while raising young if they are still feeding chicks through the adult’s molting period.

This is an extermely difficult bird to photograph. You have to underexpose, otherwise you usually just end up with a bright shape of overexposed white. To get some of the texture on its body I took this shot at -1.3 EV (which also explains the very dark background here).

Galeota, manny, carper, ninfa_urania, avigur_11, jhm, nwoehnl, jrj, jhonny_blue, Jeppe has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Henry Engelbrecht (henrye) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 675 W: 66 N: 432] (3500)
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