Record 876 flamingo chicks born during 2020 breeding season at Al Wathba Wetland Reserve

Photo: WAM

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, announced today that a record 876 flamingo chicks hatched at Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, after another successful breeding season.

This year, flamingos began building their nests around 15th March when EAD scientists observed the first egg. The commencement of breeding in 2020 was almost two weeks earlier in comparison to 2019. The current breeding season produced 876 chicks, which is the highest so far since the flamingos started breeding regularly at Al Wathba in 2011, with an increase of 22 percent in 2020. In 2019, 714 chicks were successfully raised from the same colony.

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: "Continued breeding of flamingos at Al Wathba is a significant milestone in our efforts to protect our Emirate’s biodiversity. The news of the record numbers during the Covid-19 movement restrictions we have achieved is a positive indicator especially when several activities have come to a standstill."

She also added that increased wildlife sightings have been reported from all around the world as a result of restrictions and that the early and successful breeding of flamingos in Abu Dhabi is another example that wildlife can benefit from reduced disturbance from human activity.

"Flamingos are the flagship species of Al Wathba Reserve and their breeding is followed closely by people in the region. At the same time, breeding during the past decade has seen growing interest both from the public and wildlife scientists monitoring their breeding patterns," Dr. Al Dhaheri elaborated.

Al Wathba Wetland was declared as a reserve in 1998 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and established as a Protected Area after the first successful breeding of the Flamingos in the area. It is the only site in the Arabian Peninsula where the birds have bred more than once. In April 2013, recognizing the importance of this location, the reserve became the first in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to be designated as a Ramsar site and it has been identified as one of the important bird areas in the country. It is also registered as an IUCN green list site, a program that identifies protected and conserved areas that are effectively managed and well governed.

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