James's flamingo has a very specific range

The species lives predominantly in the spectacular Laguna Colorada, a salt lake in the southwestern part of Bolivia's altiplano

by Lorenzo Ciotti
James's flamingo has a very specific range
© Murray Foubister Wikimedia Commons

The James's flamingo is a bird found mainly in the Andean highlands of northern Chile, Bolivia, southern Peru and north-western Argentina. The Laguna Colorada and the Laguna Guayaques, two Bolivian salt lakes, constitute, with a recorded population of over 40,000 specimens, the sites of the largest colonies and the main mating places of this species.

This flamingo takes its name in honor of Harry Berkeley James (1846–1892), English naturalist and financier of various expeditions to South America. The IUCN Red List classifies P. jamesi as a Near Threatened species. The total population suffered a strong numerical decline during the 20th century both due to the reduction and pollution of the habitat and hunting; even if there have been encouraging signs of recovery since 2000, the demographic trend still remains negative.

And this beautiful flamingo lives predominantly at the Laguna Colorada

The Laguna Colorada is a salt lake characterized by shallow waters, located at an altitude of 4278 m in the southwestern part of the Bolivia altiplano within the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, near the border with Chile.

It is part of the group of salt lakes known as Lagunas de colores. Located at an altitude of 4278 m, its dimensions are approximately 10.7 km long, 9.6 km wide, with a coastal perimeter of approximately 35 km and a total surface area of 54 km².

It has an average depth of only 35 cm, while the maximum depth is approximately 1.5 m. In the north-eastern and south-eastern part of the Colorada lagoon, various deposits of borax emerge, the white color of which contrasts with the orange-reddish color of its waters, which derives from the deposition of red sediments, the presence of microorganisms and the pigmentation of some algae.

The Colorada lagoon is part of the Los Lípez wetland, included since 1990 in the list of areas protected by the Ramsar Convention. The overall area of the protected site was extended on 13 July 2009 from 513.8 km² to 14,277.17 km² to also include the nearby endorheic, hypersaline and brackish water lakes of the Andes known as Lagunas de colores.