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Greater flamingos spotted in Taiwan, possible new species
Central News Agency
2014-01-14 10:50 PM
Taipei, Jan. 14 (CNA) Two greater flamingos have been recently spotted at the mouth of a river on the coast of Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, which, if confirmed to be wild birds and not escapes, will be the first-ever sighting of the species in the country. So far, there are no sightings on record of wild greater flamingos in Taiwan, Chinese Wild Bird Federation president Lin Shih-chung said Tuesday. The federation is still evaluating whether or not the two birds are wild, Lin said, adding that if there's evidence to prove they are wild, the number of bird species in Taiwan will be updated from 626 to 627. Birders in Pingtung informed the federation after they spotted the two flamingos at the mouth of the Linbian River Jan. 5. After close observation, Lin said he suspected the birds to be in their sub-adult age, judging by the few red feathers in their wing coverts. He discovered the two flamingos have spent most of their time sleeping over the past few days, Lin said. This indicates that the birds might have got lost during a migration trip because migratory birds normally sleep for long periods after a long flight, he said. However, it is still too early to say whether the birds are wild, although there have been no reports of lost flamingos from the Shou Shan Zoo in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan or the Taipei Zoo in the north, the only zoos in Taiwan that keep greater flamingos, Lin went on. The two birds might possibly have escaped from one of several private farms that breed the species on the island, or from people who imported them from overseas, Lin said. Greater flamingos are found in Africa, Latin American, India and East Asia. The birds migration route is in an east-west direction, according to Lin. In recent years, people have discovered lost flamingos in China's Xinjiang, Qinghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou areas, Lin said, adding that it's very likely the birds on the Linbian River lost their way during migration. (By Kuo Chu-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)
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