Red People

Sa genti arrubia (“the red people”) is the name for flamingos in the Sardinian dialect.

Phoenicopterus roseus — their scientific name — are red because of their diet predominantly of shrimp and mollusks. These migratory wader birds are graceful and absolutely elegant; Sardinia is their perfect habitat with its many wetlands where some live year-round.

Photo by Lorenzo Sestrieri of Obiettivo Mediterraneo

They are found on Sant’Antioco island in ponds (one in Sant’Antioco, overlooking the Gulf of Palmas and one in Calasetta, right behind the dunes of La Salina beach). They are also found on Carloforte, the island of San Pietro, and you might see them fly by at sunset above the Calasetta tourist port, heading towards the ponds of the isthmus connecting Sardinia to the island of San Pietro, where they live in large numbers. Their great appeal is heightened by their black-mottled wings and long necks that are stretched straight as arrows when they fly in formation.

Photo by Filippo Melis (APMolentargius)

Sardinia is heaven on earth for birders. There are more than just flamingos; all the wetlands are full of magnificent birds and the inlands are home to a great many birds of prey, both migratory and stationary, like buzzards, peregrine falcons, hawks, barn owls, burrowing owls, horned owls, greater and lesser kestrels, as well as a plethora of colorful birds like green finches, bee-eaters and countless others.

But more about that in a future post all about our flying friends!

(Photo by Giovanni Paulis)