Dr Salim Javed (left) of the EAD’s Bird Programme and Manager of Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring tags Yasmeena. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: "Yasmeena", a greater Flamingo will help humans with new information on flamingo's migratory routes stretching from the UAE to Kazakhstan.

She was tagged by the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) yesterday at Al Wathba Wetland Reserve as part of its work to track and monitor birds.

Some among the nine flamingos tagged by the EAD since 1995 have flown to Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and provided new insights into their adventurous journey, an official told Gulf News.

The tracking programme is not meant for getting any new information on the behaviour of the birds but their migratory routes and stopover sites only, Dr Salim Javed, head of EAD's Bird Programme and Manager of Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring, said. The EAD, the first organisation in the Gulf region to satellite tag flamingos since 2005 has successfully tagged 15 flamingos in the UAE, of which nine are still being tracked.

One of these birds, named ‘Sindibad' by EAD, was the first bird to cross the Arabian Gulf stopping along the way at key wetland sites and is currently in Khor Al Beidah in Umm Al Quwain and continues to be tracked by EAD experts.

GPS transmitters

In 2005, five flamingos were captured and marked with plastic rings and satellite transmitters. The capture and tagging was done at the Abu Dhabi Al Wathba Wetland Reserve by the EAD, which also manages the Reserve. Inspired by the success of the programme, the agency has expanded it to cover migratory birds of prey such as the Osprey and Sooty falcon.

The EAD now has a better understanding of where these birds go to feed and where they were migrating from. Birds were tagged with GPS transmitters in November 2005, January 2007, and December 2009. Four flamingos were tagged in Dubai in 2009. Three birds were also tagged in Bul Syayeef area in January 2010.

Satellite tagged birds have successfully migrated north to their potential breeding or summering areas in Iran and Kazakhstan

Regular locations from one of the flamingos' satellite tagged in Al Wathba in 2007 helped EAD discover a new breeding colony of flamingos in April 2009 in Abu Dhabi's Mussafah Channel.