Birdwatchers in and around Bellary district have been thronging the backwaters of the Tungabhadra dam at Hospet to catch a glimpse of Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) that have flocked in large numbers.
Greater Flamingos, with its majestic looks, are 1.5-metre tall, pinkish birds from the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat which migrate to the south in winter. They are known to congregate at Pulicat lake in Tamil Nadu in winter. They migrate to Gujarat in the summer to breed. On their way back, they spend some time in large reservoirs such as the Tungabhadra dam and Alamatti dam in Karnataka.
Samad Kottur, a bird watcher in Hospet and author of the book Birds of Hampi, is of the view that all the flamingos never stay the entire winter in the backwaters of the Tungabhadra reservoir. During their journey towards Pulicat, they stop wherever they find food and stay there for some days in November and December and continue their onward journey. On their return to Kutch, they spend some time in the Tungabhadra dam, Alamatti dam and other waterbodies in the vicinity. However, some non-breeding species stay till monsoon. As the water recedes, birds such as Greater Flamingos, feed upon the crustaceans, molluscs, algae, shrimps, worms, Blue Green Algae, seeds.