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Flamingo Facts

Flamingos are pink wading birds with long curvy necks and backward-bending knees.

Flamingos are 4 to 5 feet tall and weigh between four to eight pounds. They congregate in mudflats or lagoons, where they can find shallow saltwater prey.

They tend to stand on one leg in cold water, but it could also be because this conserves more body heat or reduces the energy expenditure for producing muscular effort to stand and balance on one leg.

There are 7 colors to flamingos, the color comes from beta-carotene in the crustaceans and plankton they eat, and they flock in groups of up to several hundred birds.

Flamingo Facts for Kids

They can fly up to 35 miles per hour.

A flamingo is a pink bird with a long curvy neck.

Flamingos live in colonies wherever there is water and food.

They live in flocks of 15-20 other birds near lakes or lagoons.

Facts for Kids x
Facts for Kids

The flamingo eats mainly algae, larvae, and small crustaceans.

The legs of a flamingo measure anywhere from 31.5 to 49 inches

Flamingos have colorful feathers that protect their skin.

Pink algae they eat gives flamingos their pink color

Nesting

A flamingo’s nest looks like a mini mud volcano, with room for one egg. Flamingo chicks hatch with white, downy feathers and straight bills and take several years to acquire their signature pink color and hook-shaped bills.

When they breed, female and male flamingos build a nest, sit on the egg for about a month, guard the nest against predators and take turns feeding the chick.

Flamingo chicks are born with grey and white feathers and develop pink feathers as they grow. They are typically eaten by other birds.

Lifecycle

Flamingos live in colonies and perform ritual displays, including stretching their necks upwards and flapping their wings. This is done for three purposes: to avoid predators, maximize food intake, and use scarcely suitable nesting sites more efficiently.

Flamingos form strong pair bonds and defend nesting territories. They establish and defend nesting sites, build a nest and defend it against other flamingo pairs.

The female and the male flamingos feed their chicks with milk that is made in glands of the upper digestive tract and contains fat, protein, and red and white blood cells.

The chicks stay in their nests until around two weeks old and congregate in groups called “microcrèches.” After a while, the crèches merge into “crèches” containing thousands of chicks.

Types of Flamingos 

Andean flamingo

The Andean flamingo is a species of flamingo native to South America and shares nesting areas with the Chilean and James flamingos.

The flamingo is pink in color, with yellow legs and three-toed feet. Its bill is black with pale yellow near the skull.

Flamingos have a deep-keeled bill and filter food from the bottom layer of the lake. They feed on small particles, mainly diatoms, and forage in shallow salty waters for resources.

This flamingo is native to the wetlands in the high Andes mountain range. It migrates between the breeding grounds in Chile and the wetlands in central and western Argentina.

American flamingo

American flamingo, also known as Caribbean flamingo, is the largest flamingo species in the world and is also found in the Galápagos Islands.

The American Flamingo breeds in the Galápagos Islands and coastal Colombia, Venezuela, northern Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola; it is a vagrant to Puerto Rico, Anguilla, Barbados, and Honduras.

The American flamingo lays a single egg, incubates it for 28 to 32 days, and takes up to 6 years to reach sexual maturity.

It is the largest of the flamingo species in the Americas, and its plumage is mainly pink with black wing coverts, primary and secondary flight feathers, and black tips.

Chilean flamingo

Chilean flamingos have pinker plumage than Caribbean flamingos. They have grayish legs with pink joints and have larger black bills.

Chilean flamingos live in large flocks and use head flagging and wing salutes to attract mates, but in general, they have a poor record of successful breeding.

Male and female flamingos build a pillar-shaped mud nest, both incubate an egg laid by the female, and both take turns incubating it.

Greater flamingo

Greater flamingos have pinkish-white plumage, red wing coverts, pink bill with a black tip, and pink legs. They use carotenoid pigments in their diet to color their feathers, as do other birds.

They are found in parts of Africa, southern Asia, the Middle East, and southern Europe, including the United Arab Emirates. They can be observed in parts of Gujarat, India.

The greater flamingo feeds in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with saltwater. It lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound.

James’s flamingo

The James’s flamingo is the smallest of the three flamingo species in South America and the only one without a red neck. It is distinctive for its long, thin legs and is distinguished by its bright yellow bill and pale pink plumage.

James’s flamingo lives in the Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and northwest Argentina. It is closely related to the Andean flamingo, and they all live in colonies.

All flamingo species can fly. James’s flamingos fly at speeds up to 60 km/h when migrating in a flock.

Lesser flamingo

The lesser flamingo is a small and large species of flamingo. It stands at 80 to 90 cm and weighs 1.2 to 2.7 kg (2.6 to 6.0 lb).

The lesser flamingo feeds primarily on Spirulina algae which grow only in very alkaline lakes. Their deep bill is used to filter tiny food items.

The lesser flamingos breed in Africa at Lake Natron, Lake Etosha, Makgadikgadi, and Kamfers Dam, and they are also bred at Lake Magadi.

More Interesting Flamingo Facts

Flamingos metabolize the red and yellow pigments in algae and brine shrimp to make their pink feathers

The Baby flamingo will hatch from mud nests made by the adults.

There are six species of flamingo, and they tend to congregate in mudflats or lagoons, where they can find shallow saltwater prey.

In the early stages of hatching, the chick is fed “crop milk,” which is milk from the parents’ upper digestive tracts.

A flock of flamingos is called a flamboyance