Population Census of Flamingos in Namibia, July 2008

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The southern African Lesser Flamingo population was estimated to number 55,000 - 65,000 individuals in the mid-1990s, but these were either under estimates or the numbers have increased since, because at times Kamfers Dam, the Goldfields wetlands (in South Africa), Etosha Pan (Namibia) and Sua Pan (Botswana) each support more than that number. In order to try and get to grips with the size of the southern African population of Lesser Flamingos, a coordinated survey was planned for 20-21 July 2008. During this survey, all of the sites which at times have supported more than 750 Lesser Flamingos were to be counted. In Namibia, Lesser Flamingos have been counted at 47 sites and the 750 birds criterion has been exceeded at least once at 12 of these (see Table 1, data up to date, May 2008). This meant most of the coastal sites and Etosha Pan would need to be counted and a concerted effort was made to attain full coverage. Unfortunately the shortage of counters meant that not all sites could be counted at the given dates and a decision was taken to count the three most important sites, Walvis Bay, Sandwich Harbour and Etosha Pan on the 19th and 20th July and to slot the remaining areas in when time allowed. Counts started as early as 9 July and finished on 25 July covering 18 sites. Both, Lesser and Greater Flamingos were counted and counters were also asked to try and get separate totals for adults and juveniles. At nine sites Lesser Flamingos were counted, totalling 66121 birds comprising 55598 adults and 10523 juveniles. The bulk of these were counted at Etosha Pan using aerial photography; the birds were still breeding there and perhaps more chicks will hatch (Wilferd Versfeld, pers comm.).

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Journal Article

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