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There are large colonies of the striking birds in India, the western Mediterranean and various countries throughout Africa. In the Americas, travellers can see flamingos on the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, while other significant colonies can be found in Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba.
Another place you can see flamingos is in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Locals report that flamboyances – yes, that’s really the collective noun for flamingos – are usually found near Uaymitun, Isla Holbox and Rio Lagartos. However, a new population started to form in summer 2017 around the port city of Progreso, north of Merida.
According to reports, the pink birds arrived in search of a new food source and alighted upon the mangroves near the beach. Not only is this a new location for flamingos, but it’s also easy to visit. The mangroves are found just 20 metres (66 feet) from a road, and it’s now possible to drive right up to see the birds.
Flamboyances vary greatly in size, but they can grow to include thousands of birds. You can also see a large group in nearby Celestun, home to the River Celestun Biosphere Reserve. Both of these sites are within easy reach of the city of Merida, capital of the Yucatan province in Mexico.
The city is easy to reach from destinations across Mexico and the region, thanks to an international airport. Merida has been named the American Capital of Culture 2017, so it’s a great time to visit this colonial city. There is an extensive program of cultural events that you can take in before or after visiting the birds, to see the natural beauty of the region.
There are always flamingos in the Yucatan, but they move location depending on the season. Most of the time, they are found in mangrove forests in the fall and winter months, before moving to sandy beaches such as Rio Lagartos in the spring and summer.