FLAMINGO by teNeues Media features the astonishing work of award-winning Mexican photographer Claudio Contreras Koob. He and co-author Martha A. Salazar tell the story of the Caribbean flamingos in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The UK edition was published on 1st April 2022.
A World of Many Colours
Claudio’s fascination with flamingos began in his childhood when his summers were spent in the Yucatán. He discovered the incredible diversity of wildlife in this near-pristine part of the world, home to these charismatic birds with their eye-catching plumage and displays. He has spent a decade learning about and photographing them: their behaviour, biology and geographical ranges, always mindful of their well-being and comfort while in their presence.
His patience and tenacity paid off: the images he captured of these secretive birds are unparalleled, achieving an intimacy and understanding rarely witnessed let alone photographed. The flamingos’ colourful lives unfolded before his lens: the graceful poses in bright orange that lasted mere seconds; a white flamingo chick just hatched from its egg under the watchful gaze of its parent; the adventures and tantrums of parents and grey/brown youngsters alike as they navigated parenthood and adolescence. All set against the background of the Yucatán with its sprawling mangrove forests and secret freshwater springs known only to the flamingos; the waters in the most intense shades of green, pink, orange and yellow due the algae and tannins within.
Flamingos are an umbrella species: protecting them and the areas they inhabit will in turn protect countless species and ecosystems therein. As a member of the iLCP (International League of Conservation Photographers), Claudio hopes that sharing the flamingos’ story will encourage others to protect them, a sentiment shared by his long-time friend and fellow iLCP member Cristina Mittermeier who wrote the foreword for this book.
“With breathtaking detail, the book takes us on a journey that follows the lives and lifecycle of the Caribbean flamingo, including insights into their lives, behaviour, and the wetland habitats of the Yucatan in which they dwell.”
– BBC Wildlife Book Highlight of the Month, April 2022 issue.
Naturepl worked closely with Claudio, Martha and the team at teNeues Media, from presenting the beautifully developed concept to seeing it through to publication and promotion.
Selections from Flamingo
The Evening Rush
Flamingos in Celestun spend their day feeding, bathing and interacting. As nightfall arrives, they depart towards safer, drier parts of the wetland to rest and sleep.
Every year, flamingos gather in the estuary and perform courtship dances. They choose, bond and mate with a partner for the season. By courting at the same time, hormone levels rise together within the flock. Having all the birds breeding in synchrony is a good survival strategy: it may offer would-be predators a large amount of food, but only for a limited time.
A First Meal
After a month brooding a single egg in the nesting colony at Ria Lagartos, an all-white downy chick emerges. Holding the head of its chick between the its body and wing, with the tips of their beaks touching, the parent feeds its chick with crop milk, a blood-red substance produced just for the occasion.
Tag Team Parenting
Both parents take turns to care for their single chick. ‘Off-duty’ parents depart the colony – some head for nearby lagoons to feed and bathe while others stay close-by and rest.
The End of the Season
Soon after the offspring are able to fly, the flamingos disperse. The nesting colony is abandoned. Late breeders also leave; abandoned eggs dot the landscape of empty nests. The same site may be used the following year if conditions are deemed suitable by experienced flamingos.
Browse our gallery to see all of the images from the book.
Photographer: Claudio Contreras Koob
Author: Claudio Contreras Koob & Martha A. Salazar
Published in March 2022 by teNeues Verlag: www.teneues.com
In cooperation with the Nature Picture Library www.naturepl.com
23.5 x 30 cm / 9 1/4 x 11 4/5 in.
224 pages, hardcover
132 color photographs
Text: English, German, Spanish
€ 39.90 $ 65 £ 35
Available in German-speaking territories now.
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