The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of six islands lying off the Mozambique coastal town of Vilankulo: Bazaruto, Benguerra Island, Magaruque, Santa Carolina (Paradise Island), Bangue and Pansy Shell Island.
The Archipelago is rich in birdlife due to the diversity of habitats and its prominent location for migrating bird species. Greater and lesser flamingos, great white and pink-backed pelicans, along with five Kingfisher species are among the Bazaruto most special birds.
The islands in the Bazaruto Archipelago are covered by large sand dunes and freshwater lakes, which are the nesting grounds for Flamingos.
Flamingos are famous for their bright pink feathers, stilt-like legs, and S-shaped neck. But why are they pink?
A Flamingos favourite food includes shrimp, snails and plant-like water organisms called algae. The bright pink colour of flamingos comes from beta carotene, a red-orange pigment that’s found within the algae, larvae, and brine shrimp that they eat.
When a flamingo spots potential dinner it plunges its head into the water, twists it upside down, and scoops up the fish using its upper beak.
Although Flamingos are generally wading birds, they are able to fly. It looks like they are able to “run” on water, thanks to their wide webbed feet, to pick up speed before lifting up into the sky when they take flight.
Flamingos build nests that look like big mounds of mud along waterways. The nest needs to be high enough to protect the egg from flooding and from the intense heat from the ground. It’s a team effort with both the male and female flamingos helping to build the nest by drawing mud toward their feet with their bills.
At the top of the mound is a shallow hole where the female only lays one egg. The parents take turns sitting on the egg to keep it warm. The egg hatches after a short 30 days.
Benguerra Island, once called Santo António by Portuguese explorers, is the second largest island in the Archipelago, yet is considerably smaller than its nearest neighbour at just 25 square kilometres. The island’s calm seas teem with tropical marine life and its diverse landscape contains an indigenous milkwood forest and wetland areas making it a sanctuary for small Suni antelope and around 140 species of bird. It is usually the best place to spot the famous pink flamingos and Nile crocodiles found in the island’s three freshwater lakes.
Maybe you will be lucky enough to spot a Flamboyance of Flamingos on your private boat excursion on one of Santorini’s boats.