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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2009-0092; 90100-16601-FLA-B6]

RIN 1018-AV76

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing Three Foreign Bird Species From Latin America and the Caribbean as Endangered Throughout Their Range

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine endangered status for three species of birds from Latin America and the Caribbean--the Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus), the Chilean woodstar (Eulidia yarrellii), and the St. Lucia forest thrush (Cichlherminia lherminieri sanctaeluciae)--under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
DATES: This final rule is effective September 16, 2010.
ADDRESSES: This final rule is available on the Internet athttp://www.regulations.gov.Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in the preparation of this rule, are available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703-358-2171.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine VanNorman, Chief, Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703-358-2171; facsimile 703-358-1735. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In this final rule, we determine endangered status for the Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus), the Chilean woodstar (Eulidia yarrellii), and the St. Lucia forest thrush (Cichlherminia lherminieri sanctaeluciae).

Previous Federal Actions

On November 24, 1980, we received a petition (1980 petition) from Dr. Warren B. King, Chairman of the International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP), to add 60 foreign bird species to the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife (50 CFR 17.11(h)), including two species (the Chilean woodstar and the St. Lucia forest thrush) that are the subject of this final rule. In response to the 1980 petition, we published a positive 90-day finding on May 12, 1981 (46 FR 26464) for 58 foreign species, noting that 2 of the foreign species identified in the petition were already listed under the Act, and initiated a status review. On January 20, 1984 (49 FR 2485), we published a 12-month finding within an annual review on pending petitions and description of progress on all species petition findings addressed therein. In that notice, we found that all 58 foreign bird species from the 1980 petition were warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions. On May 10, 1985, we published the first annual notice (50 FR 19761), in which we continued to find that listing all 58 foreign bird species from the 1980 petition was warranted but precluded. In our next annual notice, published on January 9, 1986 (51 FR 996), we found that listing 54 species from the 1980 petition, including the 2 species that are the subject of this final rule, continued to be warranted but precluded, whereas new information caused us to find that listing 4 other species in the 1980 petition was no longer warranted. We published additional annual notices on the remaining 54 species included in the 1980 petition on July 7, 1988 (53 FR 25511); December 29, 1988 (53 FR 52746); and November 21, 1991 (56 FR 58664), in which we indicated that listing the Chilean woodstar and the St. Lucia forest thrush, along with the remaining species in the 1980 petition, continued to be warranted but precluded.

On May 6, 1991, we received a petition (hereafter referred to as the 1991 petition) from ICBP, to add 53 species of foreign birds to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, including the Andean flamingo, also the subject of this final rule. In response to the 1991 petition, we published a positive 90-day finding on December 16, 1991 (56 FR 65207), for all 53 species, and announced the initiation of a status review. On March 28, 1994 (59 FR 14496), we published a 12-month finding on the 1991 petition, along with a proposed rule to list 30 African birds under the Act (15 each from the 1980 petition and 1991 petition). In that document, we announced our finding that listing the remaining 38 species from the 1991 petition, including Andean flamingo, was warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions. On January 12, 1995 (60 FR 2899), we published the final rule to list the 30 African birds and reiterated the warranted-but-precluded status of the remaining species from the 1991 petition. We made subsequent warranted-but-precluded findings for all outstanding foreign species from the 1980 and 1991 petitions, including the three species that are the subject of this final rule, as published in our annual notice of review (ANOR) on May 21, 2004 (69 FR 29354), and April 23, 2007 (72 FR 20184).

Per the Service's listing priority guidelines (September 21, 1983; 48 FR 43098), our 2007 ANOR identified the listing priority numbers (LPNs) (ranging from 1 to 12) for all outstanding foreign species. The LPNs for the three species of birds in this final rule were as follows: Andean flamingo (LPN 2), Chilean woodstar (LPN 4), and St. Lucia forest thrush (LPN 3).

On January 23, 2008, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the Service to issue proposed listing rules for five foreign bird species, actions which had been previously determined to be warranted but precluded: Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus), black-breasted puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis), Chilean woodstar (Eulidia yarrellii), medium tree finch (Camarhynchus pauper), and St. Lucia forest thrush (Cichlherminia lherminieri sanctaeluciae). The court ordered the Service to issue proposed listing rules for these species by the end of 2008.

On July 29, 2008 (73 FR 44062), we published in theFederal Registera notice announcing our annual petition findings for foreign species. In that notice, we announced listing to be warranted for 30 foreign bird species, including the 5 species that are subject to the January 23, 2008, court order, of which 3 species are the subject of this final rule. The medium tree finch and black-breasted puffleg are the subjects of separate rules. The proposed rules for the medium tree finch and black-breasted puffleg published in theFederal Registeron December 8, 2008 (73 FR 74434 and 73 FR 74427, respectively). The final rule for the black-breasted puffleg published on July 27, 2010 (75 FR 43844).

On December 24, 2008 (73 FR 79226), we published aFederal Registernotice proposing endangered status for the Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus), the Chilean woodstar (Eulidia yarrellii), and the St. Lucia forest thrush (Cichlherminia lherminieri sanctaeluciae). We implemented the Service's peer review process and opened a 60-day comment period to solicit scientific and commercial information on the species from all interested parties following publication of the proposed rule.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

In the proposed rule published on December 24, 2008 (73 FR 79226), we requested that all interested parties submit written comments on the proposal by February 23, 2009. We received one comment on the proposed rule from the public that did not support the proposal and one comment that supported the proposal; neither comment contained substantive information. We did not receive any requests for a public hearing.

Peer Review

In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinion from 12 knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise that included familiarity with the Andean flamingo, Chilean woodstar, and St. Lucia forest thrush and their habitats, biological needs, and threats. We received responses from three of the peer reviewers, one for each of the species.

We reviewed all comments we received from the peer reviewers for substantive issues and clarifying information regarding the listing of the Andean flamingo, Chilean woodstar, and St. Lucia forest thrush. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods and conclusions and provided additional clarifications and suggestions to improve the final rule. Peer reviewer comments and information are addressed and incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Species Information and Factors Affecting the Species

Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. The five factors are: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

Below is a species-by-species analysis of these five factors. The species are considered in alphabetical order, beginning with the Andean flamingo, and followed by the Chilean woodstar and the St. Lucia forest thrush.

I. Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) Species Description

Flamingos (Phoenicopteridae) are gregarious, long-lived birds that inhabit saline wetlands and breed in colonies (del Hoyo 1992, pp. 509-519; Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 277). The Andean flamingo is the largest member of the Phoenicopteridae family in South America, reaching an adult height of 3.5 feet (ft) (110 centimeters (cm)) (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86). This waterbird is native to low-, medium-, and high-altitude wetlands in the Andean regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru (BirdLife International (BLI) 2008, p. 1; del Hoyo 1992, p. 526), where it is locally known as“flamenco andino ,” “parina grande ,” “pariguana ,” “pariwana ,”and “chururu”(BLI 2006, p. 1; Castro and Varela 1992, p. 26; Davison 2007, p. 2; del Hoyo 1992, p. 526; Sáenz 2006, p. 185).

An adult Andean flamingo has a pale yellow face and pale pink coloring overall. Its upper plumage is brighter pink, with a deeper pink to wine red-colored neck, breast, and wing-coverts (feathers on the upper wing), and prominent black tertial feathers (feathers on the posterior portion of the wing). The bill is pale yellow with a black tip, and the legs and feet are yellow (BLI 2008, p. 1; del Hoyo 1992, p. 526). Young Andean flamingos are grayish in color and achieve full adult plumage in their third year (del Hoyo 1992, p. 526).

Andean flamingo is one of three flamingo species that are endemic to the high Andes of South America (Johnsonet al.1958, p. 299; Johnson 1967, p. 404; del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 508; Line 2004, pp. 1-2; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 277; Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2). All flamingos have pink plumage to varying degrees (del Hoyo 1992, p. 508). The Andean flamingo is distinguished from other South American flamingos by its size (it is the largest in the area), leg coloring (it is the only flamingo with yellow legs), and wing coloring (it has prominent black tertial feathers that form a “V” when the flamingo is not in flight) (BLI 2008, p. 1; del Hoyo 1992, p. 526).

Taxonomy

The Andean flamingo was first taxonomically described asPhoenicopterus andinus (Phoenicopteridae family), by Rodulfo Philippi in 1854 (Philippi 1860, p. 164; Hellmayr 1932, p. 448). In 1856, Bonaparte split the genusPhoenicopterus,placing the Andean flamingo in a separate genus, asPhoenicoparrus andinus,along with the sympatric (species inhabiting the same or overlapping geographical areas) James' flamingos (P. jamesi) (Hellmayr and Conover 1948, pp. 273-278; Jenkin 1957, p. 405). In 1990, Sibley and Monroe (1990, p. 311) suggested the Andean flamingo should be returned to the genusPhoenicopterus,based on the close genetic relatedness among all flamingo species (Sibley and Ahlquist 1989, as cited in Ramsenet al.2007, p. 18). However, many contemporary researchers maintain that the Andean flamingo should remain within the genusPhoenicoparrus,based on bill morphology and the lack of a hind toe (BLI 2008, p. 1; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 276; del Hoyoet al.1992, pp. 508-509; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86; Mascitti and Kravetz 2002, pp. 73-83; Valquiet al.2000, p. 110). Therefore, we accept the species asPhoenicoparrus andinus,which is also consistent with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) species database (UNEP-WCMC 2008b, p. 1).

Habitat and Life History

Andean flamingos are native to the Andes Mountains, from southern Peru and southwestern Bolivia to northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. They occupy shallow wetlands, collectively called salars, which are characterized as shallow, often saline, lakes (known locally as “lagos”or “lagunas”) with exposed salt-flats or mudflats (Boyleet al.2004, pp. 563-564; Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 277; Hurlbert and Keith 1979, pp. 328). Andean flamingos also inhabit “bofedales,” which are described as wet, marshy, perennial meadowlands (de la Fuente 2002, p. 1; Ducks Unlimited 2007c, p. 1). These wetlands are found at various elevations, including: (1) The high Andes, referred to as “altiplano”(Spanish for “high plains”), generally above 13,123 ft (4,000 meters (m)); (2) the “puna”(Spanish for “highlands”), between 9,843 and 13,123 ft (3,000 and 4,000 m); and (3) the lowlands, below 9,843 ft (3,000 m) (Cazianiet al.2001, p. 103; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 278). Andean flamingos generally occupy wetlands that are less than 3 ft (1 m)deep (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86; Mascitti and Casteñera 2006, p. 331).

Most of the wetlands in which Andean flamingos are found are “endoreic,” “endorheic,” or closed. These terms refer to internally-draining water networks prevalent in the Andes that are characterized by rivers or bodies of water that do not drain into the sea, but either dry up or terminate in a basin (Cazianiet al.2001, p. 103; Hurlbert and Keith 1979, p. 328). The water levels at these basins expand and contract seasonally and depend in large part on summer rains to “recharge” or refill them (Bucher 1992, p. 182; Caziani and Derlindati 2000, pp. 124-125; Cazianiet al.2001, p. 110; Mascitti and Caziani 1997, p. 328).

Andean flamingos are altitudinal and opportunistic migrants (Goldfeder and Blanco 2007, p. 190). During the summer (December to January), Andean flamingos generally reside in the puna and altiplano regions of the Andes, at elevations between 11,483 and 14,764 ft (3,500 and 4,500 m). In the winter, they may move to lower elevations—down to 210 ft (64 m) above sea level—along the Peruvian coast and inland primarily to the central plains of Argentina, occasionally to Bolivia, and rarely to Paraguay (Blake 1977, p. 207; BLI 2008, pp. 1 and 6; Boyleet al.2004, pp. 563-564, 570-571; Bucher 1992, p. 182; Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2006. p. 17; Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 277, 279, 281; del Hoyo 1992, p. 514, 519; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85; Hurlbert and Keith 1979, pp. 330; Kahl 1975, pp. 99-101; Mascitti and Bonaventura 2002, p. 360; Mascitti and Castañera 2006, p. 328; Romanoet al.2006, p. 17; Romanoet al.2008, pp. 45-47).

They disperse widely, even while nesting, and can travel long distances, flying from 249 mi (400 km) to 715 mi (1,150 km) daily (Cazianiet al.2003, p. 11; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 277; Conway 2000, p. 212; del Hoyo 1992, pp. 509-519; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85). Their movements are unpredictable and appear to be influenced by varying environmental conditions affecting the availability of wetlands (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; del Hoyo 1992, p. 514 and 516; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85). When climatic conditions are favorable, breeding takes place, and when climatic conditions are unfavorable, breeding is abandoned, very limited, or takes place at alternative, less-productive breeding grounds (e.g., Bucheret al.2000, pp. 119-120).

All flamingos were believed to be monogamous, with a strong pair-bonding tendency that may be maintained from one breeding season to the next (del Hoyo 1992, p. 514). However, studies on greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) show that mate-switching is common and they are only seasonally monogamous (Cezilly and Johnson 2005, p. 545). Andean flamingos nest at high densities, with breeding colonies consisting of up to thousands of pairs (del Hoyo 1992, p. 526). Andean flamingos reach sexual maturity between 3 and 5 years of age (Bucher 1992, p. 183). Breeding season for the Andean flamingo occurs in the summer, generally from December through February (BLI 2008, p. 2; del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 516; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85; Hurlbert and Keith 1979, pp. 328), although the breeding season may begin as early as October and continue through April (Goldfeder and Blanco 2007, p. 190). Both sexes share in nest-building and nesting (Bucher 1992, p. 182). Nests are built on the miry clay or transient islands of shallow lakes (del Hoyo 1992, pp. 514, 516). Each nest consists of a clay mound, up to 16 inches (in) (40 cm) high, with a small depression on top (del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 516; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85). Flamingos lay a single white egg, usually in December or January, and incubation lasts about 28 days (del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 526). If the egg is destroyed from flooding or predation, the pair may re-clutch (lay a replacement egg), but only if the loss occurs within a few days of the first egg being laid (del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 516).

Chicks remain in the nest 5-12 days, during which time both the parents feed the chick with “milk” secretions formed by glands in their upper digestive tracts (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85; del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 513). Feeding is shared by parents, in approximately 24-hour shifts (Bucher 1992, p. 182). When flamingo chicks leave the nest, they form large nursery crèches (groups) of hundreds or thousands of birds that are tended by a few adults (del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 516).

Flamingo breeding habits can vary widely from year to year. Flamingos may breed in large numbers for 2 or more successive years, followed by other years in which there is no known breeding. Not all sexually mature adults breed every year and, even in years of breeding, not all sexually mature adults will participate (Bucher 1992, p. 183). Flamingos are generally considered to have poor breeding success (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85), and Andean flamingos, in particular, have experienced periods of very low breeding success over the past 20 years (Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2) (See Population Estimates, below). Juvenile mortality rates during dispersal are unknown (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 284), and adult survival is considered to be “very high” (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85). Andean flamingos are long-lived, with an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Some wild adults live up to 50 years (BLI 2008, p. 2; del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 517). Recent trends in breeding success are further discussed under Population Estimates, below.

Andean flamingos are wading filter-feeders, often forming large feeding flocks at wetlands alongside sympatric flamingos, Chilean flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis), and James' flamingos (del Hoyo 1992, p. 512; Mascitti and Castañera 2006, pp. 328-329). Andean flamingos feed principally on diatoms (microscopic one-celled or colonial algae) (Mascitti and Kravetz 2002, p. 78), especially those in the genusSurirella(no common name), which is a dominant component of surface sediments at the bottom of many altiplano lakes in the Andes (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86; Hurlbert and Chang 1983, p. 4768).

Historical Range and Distribution

The Andean flamingo type specimen (the specimen that was first described by Philippi in 1854) was collected from Salar de Atacama, in Antofagasta Province (Chile) (Hellmayr 1932, p. 312). Salar de Atacama is, therefore, referred to as the “type locality.” The species was subsequently reported in Argentina in 1872 (Provinces of Jujuy and Tucumán) (Burmeister 1872, p. 364; Hellmayr and Conover 1948, p. 277), Peru (Departments of Salinas and Arequipa) in 1886 (Hellmayr 1932, p. 312; Hellmayr and Conover 1948, p. 277; Weberbauer 1911, p. 27), and Bolivia in 1902 (Department of Oruru) (Hellmayr and Conover 1948, p. 277; Johnsonet al.1958, p. 289).

The species' movements and distribution within its range were not understood throughout much of the 20th century. Early researchers considered the Andean flamingo to be relatively sedentary (Jenkin 1957, p. 405; Johnsonet al.1958, pp. 297-298), with a distribution that did not extend below 10,000 ft (3,048 m) (Hellmayr 1932, p. 25; Johnson 1967, p. 405). Later researchers remarked on the nomadic nature of the species (McFarlane 1975, p. 88) and reported lower limits to the species' distribution (i.e., 8,200 ft (2,500 m) (Kahl 1975; pp. 99-100)). Hurlbert and Keith (1979, pp. 334, 336) noted a seasonal variance in the species' altitudinal distribution, and Bucher (1992, p. 182) noted that migration might take place between Chilean breeding grounds and Argentinian wetlands.

Current Range and Distribution

The current range of the Andean flamingo extends from Peru, through Chile and Bolivia, to Argentina, in wetlands at elevations ranging from sea level (in southern Peru) to 14,764 ft (64 to 4,500 m) (Arengo 2009, p. 16; BLI 2008, pp. 1, 6; Bucher 1992, p. 192; Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; del Hoyo 1992, pp. 514; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85). In 1989, an immature Andean flamingo—that had been banded in Chile earlier that year—was captured in Brazil (Sick 1993, p. 154). There were additional sightings of the Andean flamingo in Brazil in the 1990s (Bornschein and Reinert 1996, pp. 807-808). However, the species is considered a nonbreeding “vagrant” in Brazil (BLI 2008, p. 5).

Its total extent of occurrence (including sites where breeding does not occur) is estimated as 124,711 square miles (mi2) (323,000 square kilometers (km2)). The estimated area in which the species is known to breed and reside year-round is 72,973 square miles (mi2) (189,000 square kilometers (km2)) (BLI 2008, p. 4).

The species' seemingly erratic movements and ability to disperse widely, combined with the harsh climatic conditions and the inaccessibility of flamingo habitat, have made it difficult for researchers to fully understand their seasonal movements and breeding habits (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; del Hoyo 1992, p. 514; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85) (see also Habitat and Life History, above). Researchers have long considered Chilean wetlands to be the primary breeding grounds for the species (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Ducks Unlimited 2007c, pp. 1-4; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86; Johnsonet al.1958, p. 296; Kahl 1975 p. 100), although between 2005 and 2008, Andean flamingos bred in significant numbers in Bolivia (Laguna Colorada, Laguna Khara) and smaller colonies have been observed in Argentina (Laguna de Vilama, Laguna Grande) (Arengo 2009, p. 17). Researchers have only recently confirmed that the species is an altitudinal and opportunistic migrant (Goldfeder and Blanco 2007, p. 190). Simultaneous censuses undertaken since 1997 confirmed that Andean flamingos migrate altitudinally. In the summer, most of the population is concentrated primarily in Chile, and to a lesser extent in Argentina and Bolivia. In winter, the species may converge in certain Chilean and Peruvian wetlands (Valquiet al.2000, p. 111), with relatively large numbers of birds overwintering in Bolivia and Argentina in some years (Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 279, 281; Romanoet al.2008, pp. 45-47). Recent banding studies confirmed that Andean flamingos at high-altitude wetlands move to lower altitude lakes, where weather conditions are less severe (Rocha and Rodriguez 2006, p. 12).

Andean flamingos occupy some wetlands year round (where they may or may not breed), some wetlands only during the summer breeding season, and other wetlands only in winter (see Table 1). Recent research established that there is an important, complementary link between breeding and nonbreeding wetlands frequented by Andean flamingos (Derlindati 2008, p. 10). Research in Argentina at highland (breeding) and lowland (non-breeding) sites indicated that, regardless of season, Andean flamingos spend the majority of their time eating (Derlindati 2008, p. 10). They will travel to different wetlands to feed, even while nesting (Bucher 1992, p. 182; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 277; Conway 2000, p. 212; del Hoyo 1992, pp. 509-519). Research in Argentina at high-elevation breeding sites and low-elevation nonbreeding sites indicated that given the timing of courtship in the annual cycle, lowland sites were important in providing foraging and courtship habitat necessary for successful breeding at high-altitude sites (Derlindati 2008, p. 10).

Several Andean flamingo localities in each range country are described below and in Table 1, organized in alphabetical order by country and name of wetland. This is not an exhaustive accounting of all known wetlands occupied by the species, but includes sites that are frequented by the species or are otherwise notable, such as recently discovered breeding sites. In Table 1, “Type” indicates whether the site is known as a breeding (B) or non-breeding (NB) wetland. In most cases, NB indicates that the species overwinters at the wetland. However, in some cases, Andean flamingos occupy a wetland year-round, but no breeding occurs there. Habitat information was obtained primarily from Ducks Unlimited (2007a-d) and BirdLife International (2008).

Table 1—Selected Andean Flamingo Nesting and Overwintering Wetlands in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru Country Wetland Department Elevation in feet/meters Area in acres/
  • hectares
  • Type Description/comments
    Argentina Laguna Brava La Rioja 13,780 ft/4,200 m 1,977 ac/800 ha B/NB Large lake associated with an endoreic (closed) river basin that includes Laguna de Mulas Muertas. Argentina Laguna de Melincué Santa Fe 276-295 ft/84-90 m 29,653 ac/12,000 ha NB One of two lowest-elevation endoreic wetlands used by Andean flamingos. Argentina Lagunas de los Aparejos Catamarca 13,911 ft/4,240 m 343 ac/139 ha B/NB Shallow lagoon in a larger lagoon system that is lacking in aquatic vegetation. Argentina Laguna de Mar Chiquita Córdoba 210-230 ft/64-70 m 494,211 ac/200,000 ha B/NB Large, permanent, hypersaline, seasonally fluctuating lake is the lowest-elevation locality. Argentina Laguna de Mulas Muertas La Rioja 13,123 ft/4,000 m 1730 ac/700 ha NB Located near and part of the same endoreic river basin as Laguna Brava. Argentina Laguna de Pozuelos Jujuy 11,483 ft/3,500 m 24,710 ac/10,000 ha B/NB Central lake within endoreic basin with lower water levels and extensive mudflats in winter. Argentina Laguna Guayatayoc Jujuy 12,008 ft/3,660 m 247,104 ac/100,000 ha NB Part of large salt basin where endoreic waters form shallow, brackish-to-hypersaline lakes. Argentina Laguna Vilama Jujuy 14,436 ft/4,400 m 19,768 ac/8,000 ha B/NB Large, permanent endoreic lake, prone to wide water fluctuations and winter freezes. Bolivia Lago Poopó Oruro 12,090 ft/3,685 m 330,380 ac/133,700 ha NB Large, shallow saline lake in same ancient endoreic river basin as Lago Uru Uru. Bolivia Lago Uru Uru Oruro 12,126 ft/3,696 m 69,190 ac/28,000 ha NB Along with Lago Poopó, experiences wide fluctuations in water level. Bolivia Laguna Colorada Potosí 13,944 ft/4,250 m 12,948 ac/5,240 ha B/NB Hypersaline endoreic lake fed by streams and thermal springs, with shores that freeze at night. Bolivia Laguna Kalina or Busch Potosí 14,862 ft/4,530 m 3,954 ac/1,600 ha B/NB Hypersaline lake associated with the same endoreic water basin as Laguna Colorada. Bolivia Laguna de Pastos Grandes Oruro 13-15,000 ft/4-4,500 m 37,066 ac/15,000 ha B/NB Group of small, permanent saline lakes in an ancient caldera fed by underground sources. Bolivia Salar de Chalviri Potosí 14,396 ft/4,388 m 28,417 ac/11,500 ha NB Basin of many small lakes separated by saltflats, fed by small streams and thermal springs. Bolivia Salar de Coipasa Oruro 12,112 ft/3,692 m 548,077 ac/221,800 ha B/NB Large salt basin and shallow hypersaline lake, receiving water from Río Lauca. Bolivia Laguna de Saquewa Oruro 13,123 ft/4000 m NB Hypersaline lake associated with Rio Lauca system, receives input from external afluents and underground waters. Chile Lago del Negro Francisco Atacama 13,123 ft/4,000 m 6,919 ac/2,800 ha B/NB Large high-altitude permanent lake surrounded by bofedales. Chile Salar de
  • Ascotán
  • Antofagasta 12,211 ft/3,722 m 93,406 ac/37,800 ha B/NB High-altitude salt basin with many saline lakes on perimeter, fed by several freshwater springs.
    Chile Salar de Atacama Antofagasta 7,546 ft/2,300 m 691,895 ac/280,000 ha B/NB Endoreic salt basin with fluctuating water levels from summer storms and snowmelt. Chile Salar de Coposa Tarapacá 12,376 ft/3,730 m 21,003 ac/8,500 ha B/NB Endoreic salt with small lagoon that fluctuates greatly in size. Chile Salar de Huasco Tarapacá 13,123 ft/4,000 m 14,826 ac/6,000 ha B/NB Salt basin receiving summer rains and fed by snow melt bogs and bofedales. Chile Salar de Surire Tarapacá 13,583 ft/4,140 m 61,776 ac/25,000 ha B/NB Permanent saline lake. Peru Lago Parinacochas Ayacucho 10,738 ft/3,273 m 16,556 ac/6,700 ha NB Shallow, large, brackish endoreic lake and marshes with exposed salt flats in dry season. Peru Laguna de Loriscota Puno 15,299 ft/4,663 m 8525 ac/3,450 ha NB Permanent, shallow hypersaline lake surrounded by bofedales. Peru Laguna Salinas Arequipa 14,091 ft/4,295 m 17,544 ac/7,100 ha NB Semipermanent, shallow hypersaline lake with freshwater springs and bofedales on perimeter.

    Argentina:Several wetlands in Argentina provide year-round habitat for the Andean flamingo (see Table 1). The species breeds and overwinters regularly at Laguna de Pozuelos and Lagunas de Vilama (Caziani & Derlindati 2000, p. 121; Cazianiet al.2001, p. 113; Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Ducks Unlimited 2007a, pp. 1-4). The Vilama wetlands system (Lagunas de Vilama) is comprised of 12 lakes: Arenal, Blanca, Caiti, Catal, Cerro Negro, Colpayoc, Guinda, Honda, Isla Grande, Palar, Pululos, and Vilama (Caziani and Derlindati 2000, p. 122; Cazianiet al.2001, p. 103). During a 3-year study, Andean flamingos occupied eight of the nine lakes, but were especially concentrated on Laguna Vilama and Laguna Catal (Caziani and Derlindati 2000, p. 125). Cazianiet al.2001 (p. 104) determined that the Vilama wetland system provided a variety of spatial and seasonal ecological conditions on the landscape level, such that a range of options existed from which Andean flamingos could select habitat at any given time during the year. They further suggest that similar landscape-level relationships between wetlands exist, even when the wetlands are not located within the same basin (Cazianiet al.2001, p. 110). The Lagunas de Vilama wetland has harbored up to 30 percent of Andean flamingos during the breeding season (Caziani & Derlindati 2000, p. 121; Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13).

    In recent decades, the species has nested or overwintered in locations not previously recorded. In January 1998, the first account of Andean flamingos nesting was reported at Laguna Brava (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119), which was long known as an overwintering site forthe species (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279). Since 1998, Laguna Brava has continued to provide isolated nesting sites (de la Fuente 2002, p. 6). Also in January 1998, large numbers of nonbreeding birds were reported at Laguna de Mulas Muertas, just 4 mi (7 km) from Laguna Brava (Bucheret al.2000, p. 120). Researchers attribute both the large number of breeding birds at Laguna Brava and the large number of nonbreeding birds at Laguna de Mulas Muertas to unusual rainfall patterns that year (Bucheret al.2000, p. 120). In March 2001, chicks were observed at Lagunas de los Aparejos (Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 279, 283), part of a lagoon system with Laguna Azul and Laguna Negra (BLI 2008, p. 50). Normally known as a nesting site for the James' flamingo (Childress 2005, p. 6), this may now be a nesting site for the Andean flamingo as well (BLI 2008, p. 50).

    Andean flamingos overwinter at both high- and low-elevation wetlands in Argentina. Laguna Guayatayoc is a high-elevation overwintering site for Andean flamingos (Ducks Unlimited 2007a, pp. 1-4), where the species has sometimes been reported in relatively large numbers (Cazianiet al.2001, p. 116; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279). Laguna de Mar Chiquita is the lowest-elevation wetland frequented by the Andean flamingo (Bucher et al 1992, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Derlindati 2008, pp. 6-7). Long known as an overwintering site, researchers report that a small group of Andean flamingos (about 100 individuals) may reside there year round (BLI 2008, p. 1; Bucher 1992, pp. 179, 182), and breeding has recently been reported there (Childresset al.2005, p. 6). Laguna de Melincué is another low-elevation overwintering site for Andean flamingos (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279). Although breeding has not been reported there (Childresset al.2005, p. 6), the species engages in nuptial displays vital to reproductive success in the breeding colonies (Derlindati 2008, p. 9). Researchers estimated that in recent years, between 17 and 30 percent of the world population of Andean flamingos overwintered at Laguna de Melincué in winter (Romano et al 2006a, p. 17; Romanoet al.2008, pp. 45-47). A recent winter monitoring carried out in lowland wetlands of the southern Santa Fe province (that include Melincué and three other nearby wetlands) has dramatically increased the numbers of Andean Flamingos previously recorded in Argentinean lowland wetlands, reaching 61 percent of the global population (Romanoet al.2008, pp. 45-47).

    Bolivia:There are at least 10 flamingo nesting sites in Bolivia (Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13). Laguna Colorada is a high-altitude wetland where Andean flamingos remain year-round and where they have recently nested with greater frequency (see Factor B) (BLI 2008, p. 1; Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Davison 2007, p. 1; Ducks Unlimited 2007b, pp. 14; Kahl 1979, p. 100). Laguna Kalina (also known as Laguna Calina and Laguna Busch) has recently figured prominently as a nesting location. Chicks were first reported there in 1997 (Valquiet al.2000, p. 112), and nesting has been reported there, at small but consistent rates, in 2004, 2005, and 2006 (Childresset al.2005, p. 6; Childresset al.2006, p. 5; Childresset al.2007a, p. 7).

    Salar de Pastos Grandes is another lake system that includes Laguna de Pastos Grandes, Laguna Ramaditas, Laguna Hedionda, Laguna Cañapa, Laguna Cachi, Laguna Khara, Laguna Chulluncani, and Laguna Khar Khota (Ducks Unlimited 2007b, p. 13). This wetland complex provides breeding and non-breeding habitat.

    Non-breeding year-round wetlands in Bolivia include: Lago Uru Uru (Ducks Unlimited 2007b, p. 5-8; Kahl 1975, p. 100; Mølgaardet al.1999; Rochaet al.2006, p. 18); Salar de Chalviri (Ducks Unlimited 2007b, pp. 17-20; Hurlbert & Keith 1979, p. 331); Lago Poopó, a known locality since 1921 (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Hellmayr & Conover 1948, p. 277; Johnson 1967, p. 404); and Salar de Coipasa, a wintering site of known importance for all three South American flamingo species since the mid-20th century (Johnson 1967, p. 404; Ducks Unlimited 2007c, p. 9). These lakes are hydrologically connected through the Titicaca-Desaguadero-Poopó-Salar de Coipasa (TDPS) basin, a large endoreic (closed) basin shared between Peru, Bolivia, and Chile (Jellisonet al.2004, p. 11). Several Andean flamingo wetlands are connected to this hydrological basin through rivers, including: Lago Poopó (Bolivia), which is connected to Lago Titicaca (Peru) through Río Desaguadero; Salar de Coipasa (Bolivia), which is connected to Lago Poopó through Río Laca Jahuira River (Jellisonet al.2004, p. 11); and Lago Uru Uru, which is fed by Río Desaguadero (Ducks Unlimited 2007b, p. 5). In 2000, more than 50 percent of the known population of Andean flamingos overwintered at Lagos Uru Uru and Poopó (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279).

    Laguna Saquewa and Laguna Macaya are also important sites for the three flamingo species. During winter, Andean Flamingo numbers can reach up to 2,000.

    Chile:There are at least a dozen Andean flamingo breeding sites in Chile (Childresset al.2006, p. 7). Salar de Atacama, where the Andean flamingo type specimen was obtained in 1854 (Hellmayr 1932, p. 312; Philippi 1860, p. 164), has been a consistent and primary breeding ground (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Childresset al.2007a, p. 7; Ducks Unlimited 2007c, pp. 1-4; Johnsonet al.1958, p. 296). Several other sites have figured consistently and prominently over the years, including Salar de Surire, Salar de Huasco, and Salar de Ascotán (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86; Johnsonet al.1958, p. 296; Kahl 1975 p. 100). Andean flamingos were first observed at Salar de Surire in the early 1970s (McFarlane 1975, p. 88). The first report of breeding (observation of chicks) there occurred in 1997 (Valquiet al.2000, p. 112), and breeding has continued there at increasing numbers (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 283). Laguna Ascotán differs from most other Andean flamingo wetlands, as it is fed by 13 freshwater springs as well as several brackish lagoons (Vilina and Martínez 1998, p. 28). In addition, Salar de Coposa has long served as breeding and overwintering habitat for the Andean flamingo (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Johnson 1958, p. 297; Kahl 1975 p. 100).

    Salar de Atacama, Salar de Coposa, Salar de Huasco, Salar de Negro Francisco, and Salar de Surire also provide year-round habitat for the Andean flamingo (Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Ducks Unlimited 2007c, pp. 5-8; Johnson 1958, p. 296). In 1998 and 2000, between 3,500 and 4,500 birds overwintered at these sites (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279).

    Peru:Andean flamingos frequent several wetlands in Peru (BLI 2008, pp. 5, 72, 74-75, 78; Ducks Unlimited 2007d, pp. 21, 25, 29; Jameison and Bingham 1912, p. 14; Ricalde 2003, p. 91). Although BirdLife International reports breeding sites in Peru (2008, p. 2), the Flamingo Specialist Group reported no known nesting sites or evidence of breeding at Peruvian wetlands in 2005, 2006, or 2007 (M. Valqui Munn, in litt., as cited in Childresset al.2005, p. 6; Arengo in litt., as cited in Childresset al.2006, p. 6; Arengo in litt., as cited in Childresset al.2007a, p. 7). The species frequently overwinters at Laguna Salinas, Laguna Loriscota, Laguna Vizcachas, and Lago Parinacochas, among other locations (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Ducks Unlimited 2007d, p. 21, 25, 29-30; Jameison and Bingham1912, p. 14). It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of the global population overwinters in Peru (Ricalde 2003, p. 91).

    Recent Trends in Distribution:In 1997, 50 percent of the breeding population (of breeding age) was distributed among three sites in Chile (Salar de Surire, Laguna Maricunga, and Laguna Negro Francisco) and two sites in Argentina (Pozuelos and Vilama) (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279). In the summer of 2005, 50 percent of the breeding population was located in 5 separate wetlands—Negro Francisco (Chile), Salar de Surire (Chile), Lagunas de Vilama (Argentina), Laguna Colorada (Bolivia), and Salar de Atacama (Chile) (Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13).

    Population Estimates

    Between 1965 and 1968, Charles Cordier's estimate of the Andean flamingo population varied by an order of magnitude, from 50,000 to 500,000 (as cited in Johnson 1967, p. 404; as cited in Kahl 1975, p. 100). In 1975, Kahl (1975, p. 100) estimated the total population to be 150,000 individuals. This estimate was based on (1) previous estimates; (2) the fact that the largest number of individuals Kahl had seen in one place (Lago Uru Uru, Bolivia) was 18,000 individuals; and (3) that, at most sites, he observed the Andean flamingo to be less numerous than the Chilean flamingo and James' flamingo. In 1986, the population was estimated to be less than 50,000 individuals and declining (Johnson 2000, p. 203). However, the accuracy of earlier population estimates has never been confirmed. According to Arengo (in litt. 2007, p. 2), a member of the Altoandino Flamingo Conservation Group (Grupo de Conservación Flamencos Altoandinos), previous historical population estimates were based on extrapolations of data that are not considered to be reliable. Experts consider the figure of between 50,000 and 100,000 individuals may have been accurate until the mid-1980s (BLI 2008, p. 1). Although the figure of 150,000 (e.g., Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86) was still being reported in the 1990s, an estimate of 50,000 is considered a more accurate figure (Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2; BLI 2008 p. 1; del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 526), and experts believe that the species underwent a severe reduction from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s (BLI 2008, pp. 1, 5).

    The first simultaneous census of Andean flamingos was conducted in 1997 (Valquiet al.2000, p. 110). Using a comprehensive sampling design and conducting simultaneous surveys at over 200 wetlands in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, researchers counted: 33,918 Andean flamingos in January 1997; 27,913 in January 1998; 14,722 in June 1998; and, 24,442 in July 2000 (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279). In the summer of 2005, a total of 31,617 Andean flamingos were counted (Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13). Recent censuses estimate the global population at around 34,000 individuals (Cazianiet al.2006, pp. 276-287; Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 13-17).

    According to Arengo (in litt. 2007, p. 2), long-term population trends have been difficult to establish, given the unreliability of previous population estimates. However, given that the global population sizes of all other flamingo species are estimated above 100,000 individuals, experts consider the Andean flamingo to be the rarest of the 6 flamingo species (Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2).

    Nesting sites:In the last decade, small groups of Andean flamingos have been reported intermittently nesting at a greater variety of sites, including: Laguna Brava and Lagunas de Vilama (Argentina) (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2006, p. 13; Derlindati 2008, pp. 6-7); Laguna Colorada and Laguna Kalina (Bolivia) (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Childresset al.2005, p. 6; Childresset al.2006, p. 5; Childresset al.2007a, p. 7; Rodriguez Ramirez 2006, as cited in Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2); and Salar de Punta Negra and Salar de Huasco (Chile) (Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279; Valquiet al.2000, p. 112). In recent years, Andean flamingos have been recorded from 25 wetlands survey units, but there were fewer than 100 individuals at many of these sites (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 281). Only 12 wetlands contained more than 100 Andean flamingos at any one of the 4 sampling periods from 1997 to 2000, and breeding has been consistently reported at only 2 of these sites (Arengo in litt. 2007, pp. 2-3; Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 279-281; Valquiet al.2000, p. 112).

    Breeding success:Productivity estimates from intensive studies of breeding sites in Chile indicate marked fluctuations over the past 20 years, with periods of very low breeding success (Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2). In 1987, a high of around 15,000 chicks fledged, followed by 10 years of relatively low productivity (fewer than 800 chicks fledged per year on average), and a recent increase to an average of 3,000 chicks fledged since 2000 (Rodriguez Ramirez 2006, Amadoet al.2007, both as cited in Arengo in litt. 2007, pp. 1-3). Between 1997 and 2001, successful breeding (based on the observation of 2-3-month-old chicks) was documented only at three wetlands and, in those wetlands, a total of only 12,801 chicks were produced—Salar de Surire (Chile; 9,200 chicks), Salar de Atacama (Chile; 3,378 chicks), and Aparejos (Argentina; 223 chicks) (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 283).

    The most recent simultaneous census data indicate that a total of 2,338 chicks survived at breeding colonies located in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile during the 2006-2007 breeding season (December to February) (Childresset al.2007a, p. 7). In Argentina, eight sites were surveyed, six of which are known Andean flamingo breeding sites. Of these, breeding was attempted at one site, but was unsuccessful. No breeding was reported in Peru during the 2006-2007 breeding season. Of 4 sites surveyed in Bolivia, 3 of which are known Andean flamingo nesting grounds, breeding occurred at 2 sites (Laguna Colorada and Kalina) producing total of 1,800 chicks. In Chile, breeding was attempted at four sites in Salar de Atacama. A total of 2,900 pairs of Andean flamingos laid eggs but only 538 chicks survived.

    Conservation Status

    The Andean flamingo is the rarest of six flamingo species worldwide (family Phoenicopteridae). The IUCN considers the Andean flamingo to be “Vulnerable,” because (1) it has undergone a rapid population decline, (2) it is exposed to ongoing exploitation and declines in habitat quality, (3) and, although exploitation may decrease, the longevity and slow breeding of flamingos suggest that the legacy of past threats may persist through generations to come (BLI 2008, p. 1). Long-lived species with slow rates of reproduction and ongoing poor breeding success, such as that being experienced by the Andean flamingo, can quickly decline towards extinction when reproduction does not keep pace with mortality (BLI 2008, p. 2; Bucher 1992, p. 183; del Hoyoet al.1992, p. 517) (see Population Estimates, above).

    Summary of Factors Affecting the Andean Flamingo A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of the Species' Habitat or Range

    Andean flamingos occupy shallow, saline wetlands in the lowland, puna, and altoandino regions of the Andes (see Table 1) (BLI 2008, pp. 1, 6; Bucher 1992, p. 192; Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2007; del Hoyo 1992, pp. 514; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85). Andean flamingos are altitudinal migrants and alternate betweenwetlands based largely on environmental conditions and especially the availability of water (Bucher 1992, p. 182; Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; del Hoyo 1992, pp. 514; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85; Goldfeder and Blanco 2007, p. 190; Hurlbert and Keith 1979, pp. 334, 336; Rocha and Rodriguez 2006, p. 12). During the summer breeding season (December to January), Andean flamingos occupy high-elevation wetlands in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia, and less frequently, Peru. During the winter, they may stay at the high-elevation wetlands, or move to lower elevations in Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru (Blake 1977, p. 207; BLI 2008, pp. 1 and 6; Boyleet al.2004, pp. 563-564, 570-571; Bucher 1992, p. 182; Bucheret al.2000, p. 119; Cazianiet al.2006. p. 17; Cazianiet al.2007, pp. 277, 279, 281; del Hoyo 1992, p. 514, 519; Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 85; Hurlbert and Keith 1979, pp. 330; Kahl 1975, pp. 99-101; Mascitti and Bonaventura 2002, p. 360; Mascitti and Castañera 2006, p. 328).

    The wetlands occupied by Andean flamingos are utilized on a landscape level (Derlindati 2008, p. 10). Andean flamingos prefer water that is less than 3 ft (1m) deep (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, p. 86; Mascitti and Casteñera 2006, p. 331) and rely on the variety of habitat options at wetland complexes throughout the species' range to select optimal nesting and feeding sites. Beginning in 2002, researchers conducted a multi-year Andean flamingo dispersal study, to determine overwintering sites and spatial and temporal movements (Cazianiet al.2003, p. 11; Johnson and Arengo 2004, pp. 9, 15). Andean flamingos in Argentina were tracked using satellite transmitters, and results were highly variable. One bird stayed at the origination site (the actual location of which was undisclosed), and another bird traveled 715 mi (1,150 km) over a 4-day period, using more than four sites in the process (Cazianiet al.2003, p. 11). The habitats visited included salar lakes, rivers and flooded areas. Flamingos were more mobile during summer to autumn (January-May), moving between sites often, and less mobile in winter. The birds in this study overwintered at Laguna de Mar Chiquita (Argentina), Lago Poopó (Bolivia), and Salar de Atacama (Chile) (Cazianiet al.2003, p. 11).

    Between 1997 and 2001, 98 percent of Andean flamingo chicks were produced in two Chilean wetlands—Surire (9,200 chicks) and Atacama (3,378 chicks) (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 283). In the 2006-2007 breeding season, 75 percent of the surviving chicks were produced at Laguna Kalina and Laguna Colorada (1,800 chicks) (Bolivia), and the other 25 percent at Salar de Atacama (538 chicks) (Chile). Sites where breeding does not occur serve as important staging areas for pre-reproduction mating displays and as feeding locations for non-breeding flamingos and even breeding flamingos at nearby sites (Derlindati 2008, p. 10). Andean flamingos travel to different wetlands to feed, even while nesting (Bucher 1992, p. 182; Cazianiet al.2007, p. 277; Conway 2000, p. 212; del Hoyo 1992, pp. 509-519).

    The Andean region where the Andean flamingo occurs is characterized by an extensive series of endoreic (closed) water systems that drain internally, that are recharged primarily by summer rains, that contract seasonally, and that may occasionally dry out completely (see Factor E) (Bucher 1992, p. 182; Caziani and Derlindati 2000, pp. 124-125; Cazianiet al.2001, p. 110; Mascitti and Caziani 1997, p. 328).

    Mineral extraction, water contamination, water extraction, and water diversion from mining, agriculture, grazing, urban development, and increasing tourism are ongoing activities that negatively impact wetland habitats that support Andean flamingos throughout the species' range (Arengo in litt. 2007, p. 2; Childresset al.2007a, p. 5; Goldfeder and Blanco 2007, p. 193).

    Mineral extraction:There are ongoing mining operations to extract salt, borax, ulexite, sulphur, sodium carbonate, lithium, and several other minerals at many of the wetlands occupied by the Andean flamingo. Mineral extraction and prospecting are ongoing at these wetlands, including: Salars de Atacama and Surire (Chile) (Corporación Nacional Forestal 1996a, p. 9; Rundel and Palma 2000, pp. 270-271)—the two breeding sites that accounted for 98 percent of the chick production during the period 1997-2001 (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 283)—and Lago Uru Uru (Bolivia) (Soto 1996, p. 7; Ugarte-Nunez and Mosaurieta-Echegaray 2000, p. 135)—the site that had the largest number of Andean flamingos ever recorded in one wetland (Kahl 1975, p. 100). Prospecting and digging for minerals and underground water—involving road building, which makes it possible for people to reach places that were formerly inaccessible—are ongoing at Salar Punta Negra (Corporación Nacional Forestal 1996c, pp. 10-11).

    Argentinean wetlands—including Laguna Brava, Purulla, Grande, Baya, Diamante (these last three part of the Galan Complex), Laguna Pozuelos, and Lagunas de Vilama, where Andean flamingos breed and live year-round—are also under pressure to allow mining in these areas (BLI 2008, p. 553; Cazianiet al.2001, p. 106; de la Fuente 2002, p. 8; Ducks Unlimited 2007a, p. 4; Goldfeder and Blanco 2007, p. 193).

    In Bolivia, there are proposals to exploit lithium, potassium, and borium from Salar de Coipasa (Ducks Unlimited 2007b, p. 11) and Pastos Grandes (New World Resource Corp 2008, p. 1)—both known breeding and overwintering sites for the Andean flamingo. Bolivia contains an estimated 50 percent of the world's supply of the lithium that is used to make batteries for portable electronic equipment. The largest known lithium deposit in the world is located in the Bolivian altiplano—the Pastos Grandes concession (New World Resource Corp 2008, p. 2). Lithium can be extracted directly from the saline water in the alitplano salars; this water is referred to by the mining industry as “brine.” The brine is pumped through a series of evaporation ponds to concentrate the lithium (New World Resource Corp 2008, p. 4). Obtaining lithium from brine is considered more cost-effective in the mining industry than the other alternative, extracting lithium from hard rock (New World Resource Corp 2008, p. 4). Nearly all the world's supply of brine-derived lithium comes from the Chilean and Argentinean altiplanos (New World Resource Corp 2008, p. 4). In Peru, Laguna Loriscota and Laguna Vizcachas are being prospected to extract or divert water to feed mining operations. These areas are currently being reviewed as Important Bird Areas (Arengo 2009, p. 34).

    Intensive exploitation of natural resources has degraded the soil and ecology of the region, resulting in extensive erosion, river sedimentation, soil salinization, silting up of lakes, and water imbalances in watersheds that contribute to extreme fluctuations in water flows (Jellisonet al.2004, p. 14). In the past, Andean flamingos have abandoned breeding sites undergoing alteration from mining. Laguna Ascotán was once considered a breeding site for the species (Johnsonet al.1958, p. 296; Kahl 1975 p. 100). The birds abandoned the site in the mid-20th century, which Johnson (1958, p. 296) attributed to the resumption of borax extraction. Today, Andean flamingos continue to feed at the site (Vilina and Martínez 1998, p. 28), but there are no reports of nesting.

    Water Contamination:Water resources at many salars have been contaminated, largely as the result of chemical pollution produced by the mining and metallurgical industries. The waters of the Titicaca-Desaguadero-Poopó-Salar de Coipasa (TDPS) hydrological system have been pollutedby mining and metal foundry activities (Jellisonet al.2004, p. 11; Ricalde 2003, p. 91). This water system includes the important Bolivian overwintering sites, Lagos Poopó and Uru Uru—where more than 50 percent of the known population of Andean flamingos overwintered in 2000 (Cazianiet al.2007, p. 279). The area has been mined for silver, lead, zinc, copper limestone, antimony, iron, gold, tin, and uranium (Rocha 2002, p. 10). Lago Poopó, Lago Uru Uru, and the lower Río Desaguadero have concentrations of heavy metals above the limits permitted for human consumption (Apazaet al.1996, Organization of American States/United Nations Environment Programme (OAS/UNEP) and the Bi-national Authority of Lago Titicaca (Autoridad Nacional del Lago Titicaca (ALT)) 1999; Van Ryckeghem 1997—as cited in Rocha 2002, p. 10). Because Lago Poopó is located at the terminal end of the endoreic (closed) TDPS drainage system, pollutants are more likely to concentrate there (Jellisonet al.2004, p. 120; Ronteltapet al.2005, p. 3) and the lake has been contaminated by mining activities for many years (Adameket al.1998). Mine pollution has led to lake water lead concentrations that are 300 times higher in Lago Poopó than the average concentrations detected in other lakes in the world, and fish in the lake test positive for heavy metal residues (Cardozaet al.2004, as cited in Jellisonet al.2004, p. 120). Water contamination in Lago Poopó was further exacerbated in the year 2000, when 39,000 barrels of crude oil spilled in the lake. The native community Uru Morato, which has lived along the lake for 5,000 years, reported that the flamingoes did not lay eggs there that year “for the first time in thousands of years” (Jellisonet al.2004, p. 13).

    Tourism and increasing h