A giraffe walks among a flock of lesser flamingos.

Photo: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

In search of phytoplankton

A giraffe walks past a flock of lesser flamingos wading in Lake Oloidien near Naivasha, Kenya on May 3.


Kenya's lesser flamingos are appearing in abundance in the country's drier regions because heavy rains nationwide have altered the salinity of the water in many lakes. The change in salinity is making some bodies of water less rich in phytoplankton, forcing the birds, who depend on it for food, to drier areas.


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A flock of flamingos take flight.

Photo: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Flamingos take flight

A flock of lesser flamingos launch themselves over Lake Oloidien near Naivasha, Kenya on May 2.


The lesser flamingo is the smallest species of flamingo, and with up to 2 million individuals, it is also the most abundant. However, despite the species' numbers, its conservation status is classified as "near threatened" due to declining populations and human encroachment on breeding sites.


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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.