James's flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi), also known as the puna flamingo, is a species of flamingo that lives at high altitudes in the Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and northwest Argentina.
It is named for Harry Berkeley James, a British naturalist who studied the bird. James's flamingo is closely related to the Andean flamingo, and the two species are the only members of the genus Phoenicoparrus. The Chilean flamingo, Andean flamingo, and James's flamingo are all sympatric, and all live in colonies (including shared nesting areas). James's flamingo had been thought to be extinct until a population was discovered in a remote area in 1956.
The James's flamingo is smaller than the Andean flamingo, and is about the same size as the Old World species, the lesser flamingo. A specimen of the bird was first collected by Charles Rahmer, who was on a collecting expedition sponsored by Harry Berkeley James, (1846–1892, a manager of a Chilean saltpetre mine born in Walsall, England) after whom the bird was named. It typically measures about 90–92 cm long and weighs about 2 kg. James's flamingos have a very long neck made up of 19 long cervical vertebrae, allowing for a large range of movement and rotation of the head. They are also distinctive for their long, thin legs. The knee is not externally visible: it is located at the top of the leg. The joint at the middle of the leg, which may be mistaken for the knee joint, is actually the ankle joint. Its plumage is very pale pink, with bright carmine streaks around the neck and on the back. When it is perched, a small amount of black can be seen in its wings; these are the "flight feathers". They have bright red skin around their eyes, which in adults are yellow. Their legs are brick red and their bills are bright yellow with a black tip.
The James's flamingo is similar to most of the flamingo species in South America, but the Chilean flamingo is pinker, with a longer bill (which is not yellow), and the Andean flamingo is larger, with more black in the wings and bill, and with yellow legs. The easiest way to distinguish James's flamingos is by their lighter-colored feathers and the bright yellow on their bills. A good method to distinguish the two Phoenicoparrus flamingo species from other flamingo species is to look at their feet. The two Phoenicoparrus species have three toes but no hallux. The feet of the other three species of flamingos have three forward-facing toes and a hallux.