Status of Lesser Flamingo in Spain - wild or introduced? Is iNat in alignment with other sources?

This post relates to clarifying the iNaturalist treatment of the status of Lesser Flamingo in Spain (wild versus introduced through anthropogenic means).

Recently, I did a search of my iNaturalist observations filtering for introduced species. One of the ones included was a Lesser Flamingo from central Spain. Here:

I was curious about the record being tagged as introduced through anthropogenic means and got curious how iNaturalist arrived at that conclusion, as this does not seem to reflect the prevailing opinion in the Spanish ornithological community. To confirm this, I checked a few different sources to see how they treated this origin question.

The Birds of the Iberian Peninsula. de Jauna & Garcia. 2015. “Vagrant to Spain and has bred.””Iberian and southern French records fit geographical and temporal patterns that suggest the arrival of wild birds from Africa, probably accompanying Greater Flamingoes. Nevertheless, some escaped birds have certainly occurred.” Also noted that first observations of 78% of birds occurred between March and June.

The SEO Birdlife site describes Lesser Flamingo as no longer rare in the country and attributes that to northward movement of birds in response to warming climate.

I also checked eBird data for Spain. eBird is in the process of tagging non-native bird species by one of three categories (naturalized, provisional, or escapee). I looked for tags for Lesser Flamingos in Spain and found none, while other non-natives (e.g., Rose-ringed Parakeets) had these non-native tags. This indicates that eBird (through its Spanish reviewers) is treating Lesser Flamingo as a naturally occurring species in that country.

I understand that in the early days of Spain’s first records, there was the understanding that until a pattern of vagrancy became apparent, the conservative approach would be to treat these observations as escapees. But as temporal patterns developed, opinion shifted toward treating these birds as dispersing wild birds. Is there some other source that iNaturalist is using to determine Spanish birds to be introductions? I welcome the insights and thoughts of others.




You can change that status on the place page.

If you find an issue with a taxon, please flag the taxon on iNaturalist. Go to the taxon’s page, click on Curation, then select Flag for curation. The forum isn’t for discussion specifics about a taxon on iNat.


have changed the status to native

The status has migrated to all lower places, however, so it is still tagged as introduced.

1 Like

hopefully now fixed


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