The large Cathedral aviary

La Porte du Ciel

The large Cathedral aviary

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At a height of 15m, a width of 30m and a length of 100m, some quick calculations give a total surface of __3000 m_ or 30 ares. The inhabitants of this evocative universe have one common trait as they all live in wetlands. Their harmonious cohabitation is based on the principle of floor occupation. In this way there is room for everyone, whether nesting in the crown, in the middle of the tree or under the tree. If all of the animals had to build their nests on the same level the area would have been unlivable. What applies to people also applies to birds. (Except for some nutters such as the cuckoo). Thus, each species has its own specific habits and the nesting behaviour of the birds led to their classification of nidifugous and nidicolous.

The American Flamingo

This tall species of flamingo (approximately 1m40) lives primarily within four colonies in Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas and the Dutch West Indies (Curacao and Bonaire). In total, it includes some 90,000 individuals. There is also a small, very isolated colony of some 500 birds on the Galapagos Islands.

 

The plumage of the American Flamingo – also called the Caribbean Flamingo – is redder than that of the other species of flamingo : this colour is due to its diet of algae and little shrimps which are packed with carotene, the pigment of tomatoes, carrots and… shellfish shells (the colour of cooked lobsters !). The more of them it eats, the redder it becomes !

 

With the mud and the plants of the banks where it lives, it builds a cone-shaped nest of 40 to 50 cm, with a hollow receptacle at the top where a single egg is laid.

 

Only the chick’s beak is pink ; its feathers are initially white then grey, and become pink and red only when it starts to eat shrimps as its parents do.

The large Cathedral aviary in image

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