The environment is too harsh for most animals, but these mineral-rich waters serve as safe havens — and ideal breeding grounds — for flamingos. Algae that thrive in these lakes sustain a population of some 1.5 million lesser flamingos. It’s the algae that give flamingo feathers their distinctive pink color.
For years, photographer Paul McKenzie has returned to these caustic waters to photograph flamingos in their hostile home.
These photos originally appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine featuring beautiful and surprising stories about nature and sustainability. To learn more about how flamingos adapted to this unique environment, read Rachel Becker's full story, "March of the Flamingos."
Lake Natron—the breeding ground for about three quarters of the world’s population of lesser flamingos—has been threatened several times in the past decade by proposals to mine the lake for soda ash.