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August 01, 2013

The Turks and Caicos Islands are often frequented by long legged beauties frolicking in the world famous turquoise waters of this prestigious Caribbean destination.


If you are thinking of celebrities, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but in this instance we are talking about flamingos.


Soon after departing from the international airport on Providenciales, you will arrive at a roundabout and see your first Turks and Caicos flamingos on a welcome sign.  The sign design depicts the official emblem and crest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which features two of these elegant birds.


If seeing a picture of these beautiful birds piques your interest and you want to see real flamingos in their natural habitat, you won’t be disappointed when you visit Turks and Caicos. Since flamingos flourish in captivity (zoos) they can easily be taken for granted, but there is something thrilling about seeing them in their natural environment.


Most visitors that tour Providenciales report some flamingo sightings, particularly in the aptly named Flamingo Lake.  This lake is also popular with anglers for bonefishing.


However, for best viewing opportunities, take a trip to North, Middle and East Caicos.  In 1990, the southern coasts of these islands were designated a RAMSAR site to ensure protection of endangered wetlands.  You’ll see lots of flamingos in the lagoons, salt ponds and mangrove ponds in those areas, as well as over 190 other bird species.


The largest sanctuary of West Indian Flamingos – one of five flamingo species in the world – can be found on North Caicos (Visitor maps may identify this area as Pumpkin Bluff Pond or Flamingo Pond). Also referred to as Greater Flamingos, they live in a protected natural preserve on North Caicos, that even planes are not allowed to fly over or boats traverse the waters.  To see the thousands of these flamingos in their natural habitat, pack a pair of binoculars and view them from a bluff at a community called Whitby on North Caicos.


In addition to pink flamingos, you may also see white and orange ones. The colour of flamingos is based on what they eat.  Their diet consists of algae, crustaceans, small fish and brine shrimp.  Flamingos have a unique feeding technique whereby they draw their food from the mud with their beaks upside-down.  They swallow their catch without lifting their heads.


While you may not be able to get close enough to a flamingo in Turks and Caicos to actually watch this amazing process of ingesting food, you will definitely be in the right place to see thousands of these beautiful pink birds in their natural habitat. While you relax and absorb the stunning scene, perhaps take time to solve a puzzle that has baffled scientists for years – why do flamingos stand on one foot?  If you find the answer, please tell the team at the Alexandra Resort!

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