The population dynamics of the Caribbean flamingo on Bonaire

Since 2018, increasing number of dead juvenile flamingos were found on Bonaire. This study aims to determine what reproduction rate is required to keep the population stable or increasing, by constructing and analysing a population model. However, a literature search for estimates of the vital rates of the Caribbean flamingo shows that these are largely unknown or have a high degree of uncertainty. Clutch size is estimated to be 1, breeding success is estimated around 40%, juvenile and adult survival is estimated to be high, age of first reproduction is estimated to be 3 and the breeding chance is unknown. Usage of data from a ringing project in Yucatan, Mexico, could improve the estimates. A general ‘flamingo’ population model shows that annual population dynamics of flamingos is mainly determined by adult survival. Incidental years with low chick survival are therefore unlikely to have a large effect on a population. Thus far, the reason for the increasing number of dead juvenile flamingos found on Bonaire remains unknown. Additional information about the population in Venezuela is necessary for understanding the population dynamics on Bonaire, since flamingos frequently fly from and to the mainland.

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