Fort Worth Zoo bird staff traveled to Great Inagua National Park, Bahamas to help mark and identify a flock of Caribbean flamingo chicks (Phoenicopterus ruber). Nearly 200 flamingos were given ID bands, weighed, measured, and some birds had blood drawn for health and genetic assessment. After this process was completed, the birds were released into the lagoon to rejoin their colony.
The Bahamas is home to the second largest group of nesting Caribbean flamingos and little information was known about this group of birds due to a number of factors. This species is separated into different regions throughout its range as a result of its specialized habitat requirements, which makes it difficult to have an understanding of each sub-population and where the birds migrate. Marking the birds with individual and locally identifiable bands will allow conservationists to monitor the movement and habitats of this species, which will aid in successful population management.
In recent history, the only population of Caribbean flamingos that has been routinely banded and monitored is the group of nesting Caribbean flamingos in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The Fort Worth Zoo was one of many groups to establish the banding project in Mexico, and has since been involved in the monitoring of this species throughout the Caribbean.