Sunday, 9 September 2012

Greater Flamingos breeding at Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba Wetland Reserve


September 2012. 2012: The Greater flamingo has successfully bred once again at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi. Flamingos first bred in this area in 1998 and then again a decade later.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, which lies about 45 minutes' drive from Abu Dhabi city, was declared protected by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, late President of the UAE, in 1998 after it was created by an accidental discharge of over-capacity treated sewage water from Al Mafraq Wastewater Treatment Plant. Sheikh Zayed's vision was to provide a suitable habitat for migratory birds and a breeding area for the Greater flamingo. Today, the reserve covers a total area of 5 km² and is managed by The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD). It is home to nearly 250 species of birds that depend on the wetland for resting, feeding or breeding. It also provides a safe refuge for many species of reptiles, small mammals and insects. Internationally, the Reserve gained recognition when the Greater flamingo successfully bred at Al Wathba in 1999 while a 1993 flamingo breeding attempt at Al Wathba, foiled by human interference after a first chick had hatched, was the first known breeding in the Arabian Peninsula since 1922.
2000 flamingos
Today, over 2,000 Greater flamingos are present at AL Wathba and a high percentage of these are adult breeding birds. As part of the routine monitoring undertaken by EAD's Bird Conservation team, nests were recorded at several locations; however they successfully bred at the one site only.
The bird nested at the same site where they bred successfully on two previous occasions in 1998-99 and in 2011.The first eggs were spotted during the last week in May and the first new-born chick was recorded on June 27. More chicks were born on the following days. The 2012 nesting season saw 17 chicks born, similar to the number of chicks born in 2011.

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