Probably one of the most iconic birds on the planet, these magenta-hued birds are a true wonder of the natural world. Flamingos are wading birds and Argentina is home to three species with overlapping habitats and nesting areas: the Andean, Chilean and James’ flamingos – which can be found in the Laguna Brava Natural Reserve in the northeast. Designated as a wetland of international importance, this reserve is a water and salt mirror that stretches for 12 kilometres (ten miles).
James’ flamingos live in high altitudes, and were thought to have gone extinct until a small flock was found here in 1956. Sadly, due to habitat destruction and a tradition of egg theft among local cultures, these birds are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List, although efforts have been made to protect them.
These birds are easily distinguished by their light pink feathers, brick-red long legs and bright yellow black-tipped bills, while rare Andean flamingos are the only species to have yellow legs. At 92 centimetres (three feet) tall, they are long birds; their neck consists of 19 cervical vertebrae, allowing them to swing their heads, and their long legs have knees, although they are not visible. While uncommon in captivity, flamingos are able to fly: their black feathers are specifically used for flight. Guided 4×4 tours operate from Vinchina, about 109 kilometres (68 miles) southeast of the reserve, and you may even spot other threatened species, including pumas, guanacos and red foxes.