The Flamingos of the Camargue

Each year in the Camargue some 10,000 pink or greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) couples nest on the Étang du Fangassier. This 4000-sq-m artificial island, constructed in 1970 as a flamingo-breeding colony, is one of the rare spots in Europe that guarantees the flamingo protection from predators.

This well-dressed bird stands between 1.5m and 2m tall and has an average wingspan of 1.9m. When the flamingo feels threatened, its loud hiss is similar to the warning sound made by a goose. Flamingo courtship starts in January, with mating taking place from March to May. Come the end of August or early September, thousands of birds take flight for Spain, Tunisia and Senegal where they winter in warmer climes before returning to the Camargue in February. Some 6000 to 7000 flamingos, however, remain in the Rhône delta year-round.