A flamingo that was released from Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Wetland Reserve a little over two years ago travelled more than 10,000 kilometres before recently settling in Kuwait.
Amelia, a greater flamingo named after US aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, was tagged by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi in November 2018. Their data showed Amelia crossed most of Central Asia before settling in Kuwait three months ago.
During her journey, she briefly settled in Lake Urmia in northern Iran and Lake Van in eastern Turkey.
"The migration along the Gulf in a non-stop flight from Abu Dhabi is something quite significant," said Dr Salim Javed, acting director of terrestrial biodiversity division at the agency.
“Moving to Lake Urmia in Iran and then to Lake Van in Turkey is something different from what we have seen with other tracked flamingos.”
“It has taken a very unusual path, by flying over the Gulf, along its length until Shatt Al Arab [River or Arvand Rud in Iran]. Which is quite unusual,” Dr Javed said.
Amelia was tagged in collaboration with Etihad and was one of 10 flamingoes released from Al Wathba reserve and Bul Syayeef Marine Protected Area.
The animals were released as part of the Birdathon project developed by the environment agency to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands.
Participating birds included a flamingo representing Abu Dhabi Police called Flamingo 5.
“The migration of flamingos out of Abu Dhabi and their use of wetlands locally has provided interesting information on flamingos’ movement ecology,” Dr Javed said.
“[It] is helping us identify important sites along the way.”
Since arriving in Kuwait in November, Amelia has been flying locally in the country's bay but Dr Javed says she could return to Abu Dhabi.
Three other birds that were released at the same time have already returned to the UAE capital.
"They usually travel to Central Asia. It is a bit unusual for those birds to go Turkey, so it was nice to see our birds going to other places."
Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has been tagging and tracking greater flamingos since 2005.