Record Numbers of Pink Flamingos Are Wintering in Turkmenistan

This year the Turkmen coastline of the Caspian Sea has hosted a record number of wintering birds. According to the international ornithological expedition, more than 207,000 birds have flown there since the fall.

Pink flamingos, listed in the so-called Red Book of endangered species, are the emblem of Turkmenistan’s Khazar State Nature Reserve. Scientists at the reserve counted 30,392 of these migratory birds in total. Turkmen ornithologist A.A. Shcherbina commented that “this is an official record, both according to recorded data and observations in our sector of the sea, which I have been engaged in since 1971.”

In Latin flamingo means fire or flame. This species is most commonly found in Africa, Southeast and Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South America, and the Mediterranean. In Central Asia there is a red-winged species of flamingo, which is usually called ‘pink’. Nomadic peoples across Asia believe that seeing one will make them happy.

Scientists carefully study, photograph and keep records of all coastal animal species of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea. Specialists have noted that in the past years, endangered flamingos preferred to spend their winters in Iran. The current relocation of the birds, it seems, is caused by favorable changes in the water of the Caspian Sea and its coastline.

Thanks to the efforts of staff from the Khazar reserve, natural conditions for nesting are improving on the Turkmen coast — and the food base for protected birds is growing. According to their calculations, there are 50,000 more migratory birds this season than last season.

The reserve, founded in 1934, took its name from the ancient name of the Caspian Sea — Khazar. Most of the reserve’s 270,000 hectares fall on the shores of the Caspian Sea.