Size: 36 to 50 in (91 to 127 cm); Wingspan, 60 in (152 cm)
Weight: 8.75 lbs (4 kg)
Group name: Colony
These famous pink birds can be found in warm, watery regions on many continents. They favor environments like estuaries and saline or alkaline lakes. Considering their appearance, flamingos are surprisingly fluid swimmers, but really thrive on the extensive mud flats where they breed and feed.
What does a Flamingo look like?
Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other tucked beneath the body. As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom. Young flamingos hatch with grey plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly coloured and thus a more desirable mate. A white or pale flamingo, however, is usually unhealthy or malnourished. Captive flamingos are a notable exception; many turn a pale pink as they are not fed carotene at levels comparable to the wild. This is changing as more zoos begin to add prawns and other supplements to the diets of their flamingos.
Where do Flamingo's live?
This distinctive, long-legged bird can be found in mangrove swamps, lagoons, lakes or other brackish water of Central and South America, the West Indies and the Galapagos Islands, where seeds, blue-green algae, crustaceans, and mollusks, algae, mollusks, and larvae chrysalides of brine-flies and brine-shrimps can be easily sifted from the water and mud.
What does a Flamingo eat?
Their bent bills allow them to feed on small organisms—plankton, tiny fish, fly larvae, and the like. In muddy flats or shallow water, they use their long legs and webbed feet to stir up the bottom. They then bury their bills, or even their entire heads, and suck up both mud and water to access the tasty morsels within. A flamingo's beak has a filterlike structure to remove food from the water before the liquid is expelled.
How many types of Flamingo's are there?
There are five species of flamingo, ranging in height from under 32 inches to over 50 inches. Feather color also varies according to species, ranging from pale pink to crimson or vermilion. Feather color is a reflection of the food the flamingo eats, which is high in alpha- and beta-carotene.
Why do flamingos stand on one leg?
In a large, shallow body of water, hundreds of flamingos congregate like an avian water ballet team: all preening their pink feathers, resting in the sun and standing on one leg for hours at a time. Flamingos even sleep that way.
Why are flamingos pink?
Feather color varies with species, ranging from pale pink to crimson or vermilion. Caribbean flamingos have the brightest coloration: crimson or vermilion. The Chilean flamingo is pale pink.
A flamingo's pink or reddish feather color comes from its diet, which is high in alpha and beta-carotene. People eat beta-carotene when they eat carrots. Shrimplike crustaceans are responsible for the flamingo's pink color. The birds pale in captivity unless their diet is supplemented.
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Flamingo coloring pages
Download free Flamingo coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.