About the sculpture :
The Flamingo sculpture, located in Umm Al Emarat Park, was gifted by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, on the occasion of Mother’s Day. The sculptures, dubbed The Jewels of Abu Dhabi showcase Abu Dhabi’s rich natural heritage.
About the artist :
Gill Parker is a leader in the field of equine and wildlife sculptures, with many major commissions to her name. Her sculptures are eagerly sought by art collectors around the world and are in many public, private and royal collections. Gill was commissioned by EAD to create some of Abu Dhabi’s iconic species; the Hawksbill Turtle, Arabian Oryx, Dugong, Saker Falcon and Greater Flamingo sculptures. In doing so, she worked with and mentored a UAE artist, Azza Al Qubaisi, so that she may explore new techniques and bring these to her works in the UAE.
About the species :
The Greater Flamingo has long, thin legs and neck and a downward-bending beak. It is the largest and palest of the flamingo species. Juveniles are grey-brown, their wings, tail, legs and beak are mainly brown, their plumage turns pink at two years of age. A mature flamingo can range from 120 to 145 cm in length with a wingspan ranging from 140 – 165 cm. Typically, they weigh between 2.1 to 4.1 kg, the females being smaller than the males.
Fun Facts :
1. The Greater flamingo is the largest species of flamingo.
2. Flamingos get their unique pink colour from the food they eat, which includes shrimp, plankton, algae and crustaceans.
3. The flamingo is a monogamous bird and lays only one egg per breeding season.
4. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is the only site in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf where the Greater Flamingo regularly breeds.
5. Flamingos can regularly be seen in the Mangrove National Park during the migratory period
The Greater flamingo has the most widespread distribution of all flamingo species, occurring in West Africa throughout the Mediterranean to the Southwest and South Asia, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Iran, Kazakhstan and the Middle East.
The Greater Flamingo is a highly social species, nesting in large, dense colonies. Large groups of birds are seen in saline lagoons, large shallow saline inland lakes and coastal areas. Salt pans are typically used for feeding and nesting.
Breeding is in large, dense colonies of up to 20,000 pairs. The nest is a mud cone with a shallow bowl on top. A single egg is laid. Eggs are incubated for approximately a month; chicks have pale grey down when they hatch. Chicks are initially fed with 'flamingo milk' by both the parents.
The Greater Flamingo feeds on small organisms such as crustaceans, plankton and small fish. In shallow waters, they use their long legs and webbed feet to stir up the bottom then bury their bills and suck up both mud and water to access the morsels within. A flamingo's beak has a filter-like structure to remove food from the water before the liquid is ejected.
Throughout its distribution range, the species has suffered from habitat loss and disturbance as well as direct persecution by humans.
The Greater Flamingo is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
EAD has ensured the long-term survival of the species by protecting important sites like the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, the Mangrove National Park and Bul Syayeef Marine Protected area.
UAE has joined the CMS (Convention on Migratory species) in 2016 which further underlines our commitment to saving migratory species including the Greater Flamingo.
For over 20 years, EAD has been undertaking research and conservations efforts to preserve
our species and their habitats :
To know more about our Avian Conservation efforts click here.
To know more about Abu Dhabi’s eco-reserves, click here.