Rare flamingo spotted far from tropics in Texas

Did Hurricane Harvey send the bird north?

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist
Ben Shepard, Texas Parks and Wildlife

An escaped African flamingo from a Kansas zoo has been spotted in Texas

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A flamingo recently spotted in Texas was a surprise to many since these birds only occasionally show up in south Florida and are not native to the United States.

Hurricanes have been known to transport species far from their indigenous habitats when flocks become trapped by the high winds circulating around an eyewall. 

Hurricane Harvey was one example of this happening when radar indicated large targets detected in the hurricane eye. 

This particular flamingo was born in the Yucatan close to where Hurricane Harvey passed over but it did not get blown into the country by the storm.

Texas Parks and Wildlife reported the African Flamingo made its break from a Kansas zoo after keepers failed to clip its wings.

It turns out this flamingo had a tag showing it was once belonged to a Wichita, Kansas, zoo back in 2005.

Since that time the flamingo has been spotted in several states, including Arkansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin. Although they can live to be 40 years old, this one is about 23.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.