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Meet 'Greater' - the Greater Flamingo at Adelaide Zoo

Home > Adelaide > Zoos | Photography | Nature | Fun for Children | Animals and Wildlife
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published April 20th 2013
Greater, he's the greatest
I love the Adelaide Zoo. We're very lucky in Adelaide - the zoo is within walking distance of the CBD; yet it feels isolated. It's peaceful and a great place to spend a few hours or a whole day.

Greater Flamingo (©Paula McManus)
Greater, the Greater Flamingo

As a member I get to visit the zoo anytime I like. And I do - I visit at least once a month. I usually wander around, take lots of photos and I always save the best till last.

My absolute favourite animal at the Adelaide Zoo is "Greater" the Greater Flamingo.

In his mid 80's he is believed to be the oldest living flamingo in the world and is one of only 2 flamingos in Australia (both of them in the Adelaide zoo). Once these 2 flamingos are gone, there will be no more. No Australian Zoo is planning on importing any more of the species.

Greater Flamingo (©Paula McManus)
Greater, the Greater Flamingo

Originally one of quite a few flamingos in the zoo, their numbers have slowly dwindled and he now shares his enclosure with "Chilean", the orange coloured Chilean flamingo. They live in the zoo's oldest exhibit in the zoo - the Flamingo Grott was constructed in 1885.

Zoo keepers are not 100% sure if Greater is male or female. But the word is that the bird is male as his/her original name is supposed to have been Alexander, after Alexander the Great.
I always call him, him.

A few years ago, he was victim to a vicious and horrendous physical assault. The public were outraged and sickened by this vile attack on such a graceful and gentle animal.

Greater Flamingo (©Paula McManus)
Greater, the Greater Flamingo

At the time the Adelaide Zoo reported: "Bird keeper Vaughan Wilson said that when the critically injured bird was found in its exhibit this time last year, 'Greater' was in shock and unable to stand. Concussed and having difficulty breathing, 'Greater' was bleeding from around his beak and eyes, and had a depression fracture in his skull."

But thankfully he recovered, albeit with the loss of sight in 1 eye. He was quickly back to trusting people again and once again he was the rock star of the zoo.

Chilean, the Chilean Flamingo (©Paula McManus)
Chilean, the Chilean Flamingo

Just recently the Zoo announced that Greater is not expected to live for much longer. He is very old and suffering terribly from arthritis. There are zoo volunteers on "Flamingo watch" all day every day to monitor his condition.

He's been with us in the Adelaide Zoo since approx 1930 and this winter may be his last.

If you have wanted to visit the flamingos at the zoo, go soon and visit this wonderful bird. He will be missed my many, including yours truly.
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Why? Mingle with the flamingos
Phone: 8267 3255
Where: Frome Road, Adelaide, South Australia
Cost: Costs vary, check the Zoos SA website
Your Comment
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11266) 2405 days ago
Love this! I'm heading to the zoo soon :) xxx
by All About Entertainment (score: 2|924) 2405 days ago
Love your article, the flamingos are my fave too, and those photos are absolutely stunning!
by Hayley (score: 3|1016) 2404 days ago
RIP Greater... :(
by jason (score: 0|4) 2121 days ago
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