Flamingo and Grebe Species

Flamingoes and Grebes

At the top of the page is an image of every species of flamingo, below you will find some information on each species. Below this, you will find the same for the grebes.

As always, should you work in tourism or conservation of any of these species, do get in touch, we are keen to help people find you. Click on list your wild place on the homepage main menu.

American Flamingo

Found in the West Indies, northern South America (including the Galápagos Islands) and the Yucatan Peninsula. It was considered cospecifc with the greater flamingo, but they are now recognized as separate species (it is also closely related to the Chilean flamingo). 

Formerly it was a culture icon in Southern Florida, but was largely extirpated by 1900. Having said this, there are vagrant flamingos in Florida, and these now often stay in the country worldwide.

There are 80,000-90,000 left in the wild, and there are 4 breeding colonies: in South America (in the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador, coastal Colombia and Venezuela, and northern Brazil), in the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), The Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), and tropical and subtropical areas of continental North America (along the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and formerly southern Florida in the United States).

Andean Flamingo

Found in the Andes mountains of South America, it is in the same genus as the James Flamingo. Indeed, the Chilean Andea and James flamingo often share nesting sites and are relatively closely related.

It is considered vulnerable to extinction with roughly 34,000 remaining in the wild, but declining over time.

As with other flamingos they are filter feeders, though what they filter can vary from algae to small fish – which they look for in shallow salty water.

They migrate between salt lakes in the summer and lower wetlands in winter – with the capacity of covering 700 miles a day.

The threat that this species faces, is generally due to human activity of mining and other changes to their habitat.

Chilean Flamingo

Closely related to the American and greater flamingo, it is listed as near threatened in the wild with a wild population of about 200,000. Population declines are due to habitat loss and degradation, harvesting and human disturbance.

While they are only currently listed as near threatened, there is a great deal of concern about falling populations, and as such they are relatively common in zoos and there is an active breeding program..


Greater Flamingo

The greaterflamingo has the greatest of ranges of any species (as you can see from the map. While it is found down the East coast of Africa, it is also found on the northwest coast and the northern coast. It is also present in the middle east, and throughout much of Sothern Europe. Its range also extends into India. It is listed as least concern with a population between 550,000 and 680,000 with between 45,000 and 125,000 living in Europe – the Camargue is the most famous in Southern France

They are listed as least concern


James Flamingo

The James flamingo is also found on the high Andean plateau, and is closely related to the Andean Flamingo. It was thought extinct until a population was rediscovered in 1956, and the current population is thought to be around 106,000.

It is currently listed as near threatened, and on CITES appendix 2.

Lesser Flamingo

Found in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. While the smallest species, it still stands 80-90cm tall. The easiest way to tell this and the greater flamingo (with overlapping range) apart is that the greater flamingo has more black on its bill.

Estimates on the number of this species range from “above” 2 million to as much as 5 million.

They generally breed in highly caustic lakes of the great rift valley in Africa, though there are places in India and a few other places as well.

They are classed as near threatened. While their choice of nesting site protects from many predators, it is still true that many flamingos are killed. From fish eagles to baboons and big cats, there are many species who will eat a flamingo if they can get hold of it.

It is well worth seeing this animal in the wild. Seeing 750,000 lesser flamingos on lake nakuru in kenya is a site that is hard to forget.

Visits to see flamingos are well worth it, and while some live in remote places, it is usually a species which is reliable. Please get in touch if you work in tourism or conservation of this species. Click on list your wild place on the home page of the website.

Next the Grebes

While some sites claim 22 species, my list has found that some of these were extinct (indeed, according to my list there were 3 species that have gone extinct. If there are any experts out there who notice one missing, let me know

We are eager as always to help people find places to see these birds. Do let me know if you work in wildlife tourism or run a place to stay where these birds are regularly seen. Click on list your wild place on the front page of the website.



Birds are defined as warm-blooded vertebrates. They have feathers, toothless beaked jaws, a high metabolic rate, a 4 chamber heart, a strong and lightweight skeleton and the laying of hard-shelled eggs.

Now, within these constraints, the birds vary a great deal.

The smallest bird is the bee hummingbird, which has a wingspan of 6.8cm. The largest bird has a wingspan of 3.5m (40 times large). In terms of weight, the bee hummingbird is also the lightest at just 1.95 grams, the Kori bustard weighs as much as 19kg, which is almost 10000 times heavier (heaviest flying bird). The heaviest bird is the Ostrich, which can weigh over 100kg, though these can not fly.

Looking at it in a different way, there are roughly 10,000 species of birds in the world. Now, while this may change as this website grows (both with other authors, and assistance from readers) at the current time, it would be absurd to think that I could build a page for each of these many species. What this page will try to do, is to build a page for each group of birds. Of course, the other point of this website, is that this is to assist in people travelling to see these species in the wild. As such, while I am fully of the opinion that every bird matters, we will concentrate- to begin with, on birds which are popular and/or are interesting to see.

To start, below you will see the initial 2 clades (it should be noted that there was at one time 7 clades, which include clades like Diosaruia), and each clade has two families. 

                                   Palaeognathae (ratites and Tinamou)                                                                                                               Neognathae


This contains just 1 species the Osterich (alongside many extinct species). The male is black, the female is brown

 As this is all of the Struthionimorphae family, you will be able to visit the Osterich page by clicking on either image.


This contains Rheas, Cassowaries, Emus, Kiwis and Tinamous (as well as the extinct Moas and Elephant bird)

This family includes a number of species so as we build pages, they will be linked to images below (the pictures for these species in directly below here)


There are two subgroups in this group, though Asterionis is extinct. The only other group is Galloanserae or fowl – containing 

180  water-fowl (Anseriformes) species

  290 Land-fowl (Galliformes) Species.



This contains the rest of the birds not already included in another group. This is roughly 95% of birds.

Now, Understandably, this group covering 95% of birds, we will not be listing every species. However, we will endeavour to list groups of interest down to a lower level- I know that there is a great deal of interest in birds, and I will rely on this website taking off to a greater degree in order to push this further

This family is large and varied. We are going to start with currently agreed “magnificent seven” supraordinal clades, as well as the three orphaned orders. 




Rock hyrax


The Hyrax is a family of species. All falling in the Order Hyracoidea, and the family Pracaviidae. While their look would not suggest it, this family is very closely related to the elephant

Within this family, there are 3 Genus, 2 with just one species, and one with 4. You will see labeled pictures below. Click on any to find out more.

                          Heterohyrax                                                                                                                                                 Dendrohyrax


It should be noted, that the Benin tree hyrax was only decided in recent years, as such it is still debated as to whether it is a separate species, or just subspecies.

As many as 50 subspecies have been described. As destinations for these different species start to get added, I will add these to the grid above. As with all species on this website, we are eager to work with people on the ground, to allow tourism to see this species. given how well hyraxes do outside reserves, it may well be a species easier seen in areas of local population. Get in touch if you have a destination to list (link at the top of the main page. While fascinating to watch (we watched one eat a whole banana skin) they are often overlooked. They have less status than lions and elephants, but can also be found in more places

Yellow-spotted hyrax, has a recognized 25 subspecies, though given the vast range of this species, this is perhaps not a surprise. They generally live in rocky areas and rock Kojes, that can be seen littered across savannah

It is (in some areas) hunted by humans, which has caused local problems. They are browsers, eating leaves twigs and other edible things it comes across (I have seen one eat a banana skin.

It is listed as least concern


Southern tree hyrax It is  found in temperate forests, subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, moist savanna, and rocky areas.

It may be found at elevations up to 4,500m across a wide range of countries. It is largely nocturnal. The males call is an alarming series of shrieks.

It is listed as least concern.

Western tree hyrax, also known as the western tree dassie or Beecroft tree hyrax,

Western tree hyraxes tend to be solitary, and only occasionally are found in groups of two or three. They are nocturnal and generally feed at night. It has been noted that this species is an especially adept climber. The gestation period is about eight months with a litter size one or two young.

It is listed as least concern

Rock or cape hyrax has 5 recognized subspecies, again, unsurprising given its vast range. Generally having a hide within a natural rock cavity, Rock hyraxes are social animals that live in colonies of up to 50 individuals. They sleep in one group, and start the day, warming up in the sun

They are also listed as least concern

Eastern tree hyrax is the most localized of the tree hyrax species, only found in places within a narrow band of lowland and montane forests in Kenya and Tanzania and close-by islands. A solitary species, it lives in tree cavities, and communicates with others, through scent marking and high pitched calls. 

They are classed as near threatened by the IUCN, with poaching being a big threat, particularly on Mount Kilimanjaro and throughout the Eastern arc mountains.

Benin tree hyrax is found in the region between the Niger and Volta Rivers in West Africa, hence the name.

It can be distinguished from neighbouring Dendrohyrax dorsalis by its night-time barking vocalizations, its shorter and broader skull, and its lighter pelage.

This is a species that is not currently agreed. However, if/when it is, it has been assessed by the IUCN as being least concern

Australian Snubfin Dolphin

Australian Snubfin Dolphin

Found off the north coast of Australia (see the map to the right for a more detailed idea, the Yellow is suspected range, and the question marks designate areas which have similar attributes, but where they have never been seen) it looks very similar to the Irrawaddy dolphin, and was only recognized as a separate species in 2005.

They are the only 2 species found in the genus Orcaella. The closest relative to this genus (as you may have guessed) is the Orca or killer whale.

Females reach a length of 230cm while males grow to 270cm. While lifespan is estimated at 30 years, this species is so rarely encountered, scientific studies have proved impossible so far.

Generally living in groups of 2-6 (larger groups of up to 14 have been encountered). It is consindered vulnerable, and while its population does not show rapid declines in recent times, its wild population is thought to number 200 or less.

 Below, is a video of the species, and then is a list of any mentions of this species on the website (given how rare it is, it may never show any articles).

Below that, I will add any opportunities to see this animal in the wild, as we make contacts

Guiana dolphin

Guiana dolphin

The Guiana dolphin (also known as estuarine dolphin or costero) is a dolphin which lives alongside central and Southern America. It was agreed as a separate species back in 2007. It looks like a bottlenose dolphin (though smaller at 2.1m. They do not bowride, but avoid them.

It has an electroreceptive sense – the suggestion is that all toothed whales have this, but it is unclear. It was described as a separate species back in 1864 (from the Tucuxi). This was questioned for some time, but is certainly confirmed from now.

It is found in estuaries and similar up and down the coast. The population in Guanabara bay is currently near Rio de Janeiro, down from 70 in 1995 and 400 in 1985.

Below is some footage of some of these dolphins. Below that is a list of mentions on this website (whether there is currently, we hope there will be in the future).

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

Indo- Pacific humpback dolphin

Found in the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans, this dolphin inhabits coastal waters in this part of the world. It is also known as the Chinese White dolphin

Coloured grey, pink or white (the pink colour comes from blood vessels near the surface rather than from pigmentation) they have a length of 2m-3.5m in length and a weight of 150kg-230kg. They generally spend their time in groups not larger than 10 individuals.

These are not dolphins who go under for long periods of time, with adults rarely diving for more than 4 minutes. Similar threats to other dolphins, include coastal developments, water pollution, overfishing and an increased number of boats in the water. In 2015 it was classified as vulnerable.

A small population of the dolphins (158) live close to Hong Kong and many have succumbed as a result of toxins ingested from the water.

Because they spend much of their time in shallow water close to the shore, they are more at risk to pollution from things like plastic that can wash into the sea. Plastic also makes it harder or impossible for the dolphins to locate fish with echolocation as a result of the extra things in the body of water. 

Below here is a section which will list every time they have been mentioned on the website. Below that, is a video of these animals. Below that you will find any links (as we make them) which will help you see these animals in the wild.

Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises family tree

Cetaceans -Whales, porpoise and dolphins

Few people can avoid stopping to watch, if they spot cetaceans from a cliff. While the family is wide and varied, they are all pretty interesting. From some of the largest and most intelligent hunters such as killer whales to the largest animal on earth the blue whale.

Whale and dolphin watching tourism is worth a lot of money – this can be essential, as in many places the extra money helps a community survive. 

I hope, overtime, to make this section of the website as large a list of places to view cetaceans and people who will help you in that quest.

As might perhaps be suspected, all of the mammal species which have returned permanently to the sea, and developed breathing holes located on their back (and therefore perfectly placed for taking quick breaths) are  related.

So what is the most closely related living land mammal? Perhaps obviously, it is a species which spends much time in the water – the hippopotamus.

As with all of these pages, as we create pages for each individual species, they will be linked to the photo below.

So the baleen whales are split into three families, these are not large as there are only 16 species of baleen whales in the world. At the current time, there are roughly 1.1 million baleen whales in the worlds oceans

Below is a family tree of the group


Baleen Whales

Baleenideae – the rhight whales


The first  living split is Baleenidae, this family is not huge. The north atlantic and north pacific are closest related, these species are closely related to the Southern pacific right whales. Their name is unfortunate – it is called right whale for 3 reasons, it swims slowly, floats when dead and carries a large amount of oil. This lead to all these species being hunted close to extinction.

The other family is called Balaenopteroidea. Here species peel off slowly. I will list them in the order that they split.

The first split is the minke whale – of which there are 2 species, the common and southern minke whale, with the grey whale being the next most similar.

The next are the humpback whale and the fin whale followed by the Blue whale.

The last group of whales are from a group called the Brydes whales complex

This completes the list of baleen whales. The other branch of the Cetaceans is known as the toothed whales

Toothed Whale

.I am going to look at them in 3 groups, though the third is not particularly closely related to each other

  • Delphinoidea: This includes
    • Monodontidaes – Belugas and narwhals
    • Phocoenidae – The family of Porpoises (7 species) such as harbour porpoises and Vanquita


    • Delphininidae – these are the oceanic dolphins – 37 species split into several subfamilies which we will deal with one by one.
Subfamily Delphininae – 15 species

Subfamily  Globcephalinae 11 species

Subfamily incerta sedis (latin for “of uncertain placement” )6 species

Subfamily Lissodelphininae 6 sppecies

Subfamily Orcininae

  • Inioidea : This includes 3 groups
    • Iniidae (only 1 of 5 genus remains -Inea (4 species: Araguaian river dolphin, Bolivian river dolphin  and Orinoco dolphin)
    • Lipotidae: which contains only one species: the Baiji or Chinese river dolphin
  • Pontoporiidae: which contains one species 

The next family is the beaked whales. There are 24 species, of which only 3-4 have been well studied. This is because they spend much of their time deep in the sea, it appears that each species does not have many members and they are incredibly reclusive in their habits.

One might ask how an air breathing animal can spend so much of its time deep in the ocean? Well the Curved beaked whale has had a dive timed at 138 minutes. More incredible, they only need around 2 minutes to catch their breathe before sinking back into the depths. This means that if required, they can spend just 20 minutes out of 24 hours at the surface – an incredible stunt.

There appear to be a great number of species that are extinct – these we will not list, but will mention each subfamily in passing.

Incertae sedis contains 5 extinct genus, Basal forms include 13 extinct genus

Subfamily Berardiinae contains 3 genus, 2 of which are extinct, but the third contains 3 living species (and one dead) .  

Genus Beradius


Next we cover the Bottlenose whales

Northern                                                                                                                     Southern and                                                        Tropical

Subfamily Ziphiinae  contains 5 genus, 3 are extinct, but two have just one species in each

Genus Tasmacetus: Shepherds beaked whale Genus Ziphius: Cuviers beaked whale

Click on the image to see it in full

As you can see from the whale family tree, the sperm whales are separate from the rest. However, they are toothed whales so belong in this section of the page.

4 horned antelope

4 horned antelope

This is a small species of antelope that is found in India and Nepal. the sole member of its genus Teracenus (and only sharing its tribe Boselaphini with the Nilgai). First described in 1816, it has 3 recognized subspecies. It is quite hard to find, but feeds on grass shrubs herbs foliage flowers and fruit.


They tend to hide in long grass, and the undergrowth, which is why it is only areas like this that they are usually found in.


Population estimate in 2001 was put at 10,000. While they are wide spread, they live at low densities (0.7 per square km is considered healthy).

Below is a video of this species, and below this is a list of articles on this species; this is a relatively obscure antelope, but should it be written about, you will find all these articles listed here.

There are a variety of reserves where they can be seen. including Pench Kanha and Gir to name just a few. As the website grows, we hope to link to many of these places. These will all be listed at the bottom of the page.


Polar Bear

Polar bear

  • A relatively new species of bear, the polar bear is the only species adapted for polar life. Still being found all around the Arctic, there are roughly 26,000 in the wild at the current time. Whalers and for traders killed many in the 19th century, and while they have recovered experts predict that global warming is likely to lead to the extinction of the polar bear.

Polar bears are distant cousins of the Grizzly bear, and as the weather warms, polar bears are moving south and Grizzlies north. This has on at least one occasion created a so called “Pizzly”. We only know about this, because a hunter who paid to kill a polar bear accidentally shot the Pizzly. I have made it clear my lack of appreciation for the so called hunter – while I am ready to admit that in places the money is useful for conservation, I hope that with your help and this website, we might make it an irrelevance.

Found throughout the arctic, they can be seen in 

  • Alaska (USA) 4000-7000
  • Canada   16,000
  • Greenland 3500-4000
  • Norwegian islands, particularly Svalbard about 3000
  • Russia:22,000-31,000 (note, this adds up to far to many – indeed Russias population alone is above the world population, also some are shared between countries)

Over time we hope to list many places where you can visit bears and see them in their wild home, these will appear here, and a list of posts we have published on bears will appear below these links

aaa Swedish lapland

Swedish Lapland, far north of sweden

Sweden’s Lapland is a beautiful area. Lying in the far north of Sweden, like much of Sweden the land is heavily forested. Wolves are rare in Sweden, though this is as a result of over hunting – Europe has said that Sweden needs 170-270 wolves for a healthy population. Sweden is a huge country, which could support far more if they were allowed to naturally control their numbers. Being a country about the size of France, but with far fewer people, stating the country can only support 170 wolves is ridiculous. Bear numbers are higher, and there are thought to be around 2000 wolverines within its border (this was a population I was quoted if we visited).

It should be noted, that, the only difference between here and further south, is the number of wolverines – we did not get this far north, and where we were wolverines are just occasional visitors. The one difference is the reindeer presence. There are around 260,000 reindeer in Sweden, though it should be noted that these are only semi wild.

Sweden’s bear population is going up at the moment, and is currently thought to be around 2800. Generally, it takes some local knowledge to see wild bears, and your best chance is in a bear hide. We have one listed in the hides section of of this website. One of the big advantages of doing this in the northern parts of Sweden is the sunlight lasts more of the night. As bears are largely nocturnal, this allows more time to watch. When I visited the bear hide, it got to dark to see at about 2am but got light enough again at 5am.

Below is a video of the area. As you can see, while there is some wildlife, there is not a great deal. Generally you need a guide to take you out as finding the wildlife is a difficult job. We hope to be adding plenty of links below.

See Animals Wild