The bird has a romantic Spanish name. How lovely it is! “Flamingo” comes from the Spanish word Flamengo. It means “flame-colored”. So, the bird was named for its beautiful flame-like feathers.
Whenever the word “flamingo” accidentally comes across our mind, an image of “two flamingos kissing together making the immortal sign of love” originates in our mind. Isn’t it true? But there are many interesting things to know about the features of flamingos. Let’s quickly get to the characteristics.
Feathers, flaming with love
An adult flamingo has light pink feathers. Some other species have bright red feathers. However, the young flamingos are born with little grayish-red feathers. The color of its feathers depends on two reasons:
- Pigmentation caused by aqueous bacteria, and
So, mostly it depends on the quality of the food they get. Unhealthy flamingos usually have white feathers. And a well-nourished flamingo has vibrant feathers that mesmerize the bird-lovers among us!
Do you know Why Flamingos Are Pink? To know more click the link.
Height, not too big or small
The height of flamingos usually ranges from 2.6 feet to 4.7 feet on average. The small species are up to 2.6 feet tall and the big species’ height range is 3.9-4.7 feet.
Weight, slim and delicate
Flamingos show a weight range of 2.5-3.5 kilograms. It means they are slim birds. Such light body mass helps them in their delicate movement in the water. While flying, it acts as an advantage.
Flamingos can significantly extend their bills. A flamingo can open its bill by raising the upper jaw and dropping the lower portion. It helps them in feeding their infants. Their bills are curved. It helps them to separate mud from their food.
Flamingos are brilliant in flight. They can fly delicately using the wind to their advantage. It is a delight to watch a flamingo flying across the sky and returning home with food.
There is another special characteristic of flamingos. You can read about it in this article, Why Do Flamingos Stand On One Leg?
Range & habitat
As it is said earlier, there are a total of four species of flamingos. Let’s know about the species and where they live.
Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
The Chilean flamingos are found in South America in the following countries:
It is large and 110-130 cm tall. Their feathers are pink.
James’ flamingo (Phoenicopterus jamesi)
James’s flamingo is also popular as puna flamingo. It can be found in the high altitudes of the following countries:
After Harry Berkeley James, this flamingo is named. It belongs to the species of small flamingos. They can be located in the high altitude regions of the Andean plateaus.
Andean flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus)
Andean flamingos are the rarest in the family of flamingos. The Andean flamingos live in the South American Andes mountains. It is the largest flamingo in the Andes region.
American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
American flamingos belong to the large species of flamingos. It is also known as the Caribbean flamingo. These flamingos are distributed in the following regions:
- Galapagos Islands
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Jamaica etc.
For its red feathers, it was also called the rosy flamingo.
As flamingos live in the coastal regions, close to the sea, they mostly depend on seafood. They get maximum nutrition from the products available either in the sea or near the coast.
Flamingos have a special ability of “filter-feeding”. They can filter brine shrimps from the seawater by using this technique. They also eat blue-green algae, larvae of insects, little insects, mollusks, lobsters, and crabs. For feeding such a wide array of foods, they are called omnivores.
Behavior & lifestyle
Flamingos live in colonies. They always stick together no matter what happens between the group. For this reason, it makes them one of the most social birds in the world. They live in large colonies.
There is an interesting thing to know about their lifestyle. There is a “ritual display” among the flamingos. What is this thing? Let’s know about it.
Ritual display, in search of LOVE
Flamingos are always in search of love. Those who have found their best partner try to help others to get them their suitable mates. For this reason, they stand together and show each other by stretching their necks upwards. There is a flapping of wings too, in that custom. This “ritual display” helps them in pairing up before mating for life!
However, flamingos present an example of ideal couples. Both the male and the female help each other to build a nest, taking care of eggs and the young ones.
Fun flamingo facts
Here is a list of “Top 5 Fun Facts about Flamingos”. Let’s quickly dive into the list, there is a surprise for you at the end of the list!
- Flamingos, the social birds, also become violent during protecting their nests.
- Homosexuality among flamingos has been found in the latest studies.
- Both male and female flamingos can produce milk! It is called crop milk. It is formed in an adult flamingo’s upper digestive tract.
- Flamingos leave their chicks when they are two weeks old only!
- The oldest flamingo in the world died in January 2014. Its name was Greater. He died at the age of 83 at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia.
Meet the flamingos
Not only that, but you can also read about the Shoebill Bird here.
Have you ever heard about secretary birds? You can read it here by clicking the link.
Did you enjoy learning more about the pangolin? Have you ever met this unique creature face-to-face? Tell us about your pangolin experience in the comment section below. Because those who care share!
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- Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). (2016). IOC World Bird List (v 6.3).
- “Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)”. www.hbw.com. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- Scientists: Florida flamingos are native to the state, News-Press, Chad Gillis, February 23, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- Walker, Matt (13 August 2009). “Why flamingoes stand on one leg”. BBC News. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
- Chang, Young-Hui; Ting, Lena H. (24 May 2017). “Mechanical evidence that flamingos can support their body on one leg with little active muscular force”. Biology Letters. 13 (5): 20160948. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2016.0948. PMC 5454233. PMID 28539457.
- Fugitive flamingo spotted in Texas 14 years after escaping a Kansas zoo during storm, Wichita Eagle, Kaitlyn Alanis, May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- Grazian, David (2015). American Zoo: A Sociological Safari. Princeton, NJ, US: Princeton University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-691-16435-9.
- Bradford, Alina. 2014. Flamingo Facts: Food Turns Feathers Pink. September 18. Accessed March 2018. https://www.livescience.com/27322-flamingos.html
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- Hill, G. E.; Montgomerie, R.; Inouye, C. Y.; Dale, J. (June 1994). “Influence of Dietary Carotenoids on Plasma and Plumage Colour in the House Finch: Intra- and Intersexual Variation”. Functional Ecology. 8 (3): 343–350. doi:10.2307/2389827. JSTOR 2389827. S2CID 87349325.
- “NATURE: Fire Bird – Flamingo Facts”. Pbs.org. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- Pickett, C.; Stevens, E. F. (1994). “Managing the Social Environments of Flamingos for Reproductive Success”. Zoo Biology. 13 (5): 501–507. doi:10.1002/zoo.1430130512.
- Gaillo, A.; Johnson, A. R.; Gallo, A. (1995). “Adult Aggressiveness and Crèching Behavior in the Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber roseus”. Colonial Waterbirds. 18 (2): 216–221. doi:10.2307/1521484. JSTOR 1521484.
- Fedorowytsch, Tom (31 January 2014). “Flamingo believed to be world’s oldest dies at Adelaide Zoo aged 83”. ABC Radio Australia. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
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