Discover the National Bird of The Bahamas – AZ Animals

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The Bahamas is an island country in the Caribbean Sea. It is sometimes referred to as the Islands of the Bahamas due to the number of islands that make up the country. The coastal habitats and lush interior of the country support a variety of wildlife including more than 330 different bird species. You can imagine how beautiful the tropical birds are as well as the common songbirds. So how does a country with such a diverse bird population choose just one as their national bird? Read on to discover the national bird of the Bahamas!
The national bird of the Bahamas is the flamingo. These reddish-pink, long-legged birds are favorites at zoos around the world and thousands of them live in the Bahamas. The type of flamingo in the Bahamas is the Caribbean flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) also called the American flamingo or West Indian flamingo. The Bahamas played an important role in preventing these birds from going extinct.
By 1950 there were only around 5,000 Caribbean flamingos left and they were found on the island of Inagua, one of the Bahama Islands. There are several things that contributed to the dwindling number of flamingos. First was overhunting with people hunting the flamingoes for their eggs and feathers. Second, Royal Airforce pilots had a habit of flying low over flocks of flamingo to startle them causing quite a scene with hundreds taking off at once. This seemed to spook the birds and many would refuse to lay eggs or nest. Thirdly, the birds were often sold to people on ships passing through but the birds were not taken care of and many of them died. Now habitat loss is the biggest threat to the flamingoes.
Today there are more than 50,000 flamingoes living in the Bahamas with some times of the year with even more. When the numbers of flamingoes seemed to be getting depleted Robert Porter Allen, from the National Audobon Society went searching for any remaining populations. That is when he found the group living in the Bahamas on Inagua. The Society for the Protection of Flamingoes was created and two early conservationists were put in charge of protecting the birds. Later, the Bahamas created the Bahamas National Trust which is in charge of the conservation efforts today.
No. Flamingoes are not endangered animals today. None of the species are listed by the IUCN as endangered which is amazing news. However, loss of habitat and encroaching developments can be an issue in some areas.
Now you can find Caribbean flamingoes in several countries like Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic and along the coast of a few of the southern U.S. states. In the Bahamas you will still find the most on the Island of Inagua where the flamingoes are thriving in the salt marshes. Lake Rosa is the largest salt water lake in the Bahamas and where you will find a sea of pink with all the flamingoes gathered together. The Morton salt company works on the island and employs many of those living on the island in the small town of Matthew Town.
No. The flag of the Bahamas does not have any images on it, instead it has three horizontal stripes in blue, yellow, blue. On the hoist side of the flag is a right pointing black triangle. The blue is described as “aquamarine” and it represents the water that surrounds the country. Yellow symbolizes the land or sand and the black triangle is the people and their strength. The Bahamas gained their independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973. That marks the first day the flag was used.
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Yes! The 2 dollar coin has two flamingoes facing each other on the back of it. It was first minted in 1974.
Other animals appear on the coins and banknotes of the Bahamian dollar. The 1 cent coin, which is now obsolete since being demonetized in 2020 had three starfish on the back. The 10 cent coin has two bonefish (medium-sized silvery saltwater fish). On the back of the 50 cent coin is a blue marlin which is also featured on the back of the $100 dollar bill.
Yes! On the island of Exuma there is a group of pigs that is a mystery as to how they got there. They are swimming pigs and visitors and tourists can take a boat out to the island and swim with them. These are not big-tusked wild boars but cute pink pigs. A couple that run a restaurant nearby have taken upon themselves to make sure the pigs are well cared for!
Other animals that live in the Bahamas include plenty of lizards and iguanas. Some of the native iguanas are endangered like the Exuma rock iguana and the Allen Cay and White Cay rock iguana.  
Other birds that live in the Bahamas are the bright green Bahama parrot, large turkey vulture and the tiny Bahama woodstar (a brightly colored hummingbird).
Because the country is a series of islands there are not very many mammal species. You will find the Jamaican fruit bat and geocapromys which are furry rodents about the size of a rabbit that are native to the Bahamas. There are also plenty of marine mammals like the gentle manatee that live off the coast.
Off the coast of the Bahamas you can find a variety of marine mammals and other animals. You can charter a boat to go out for some whale watching where you might spot a pygmy sperm whale, dwarf sperm whales (especially off the coast of Abaco), sperm whales and Blainville’s beaked whales. There are several dolphin speicies including bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and Risso’s dolphins. Killer whales and pilot whales, which are actually in the dolphin family despite their name, can often be seen in pods.
There are sharks off the coast of the Bahamas. Tiger sharks are one of the sharks that frequents the waters around the island especially off of Tiger beach. Caribbean reef sharks are also one of the most common sharks seen by divers. Great hammerheads, oceanic whitetip, silky sharks and the nurse shark also live off the coast of the Bahamas.
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