The Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruper )is one of the most stereotypically familiar of birds, known for its shape, color, and perceived as an iconic specialty bird from exotic locales. Pink flamingos have been corporate and trademark icons for Florida businesses for decades. Flamingos generally denote a tropical landscape or vacation spot or scene. A fact known to very few people is that the vibrancy of their pink color is due to their diet. Low carotene blanches feather color to white.
Flamingos like warm climates, shallow salt-water lagoons in the West Indies, northern South America, Yucatan, the Galapagos Islands, and extreme southern United States like Florida. Bolivia, Uruguay and Tanzania also have their flamingo residents. Ocean flats and lagoons give the flamingo stomping grounds. The flamingo diet is reflected by its habitat, small crustaceans and sea growth, insects and lagoon foraging. Natural color then will reflect tropical diet and exotic locale and forage material.
Pink and black feathers with rounded wings and extended legs make the flamingo less birdlike and more mammalian in general outline. A high curved neck extend downward with head and bill are signature design features of natureâ€™s flamboyant bird. The long bill even aids in shaping a mud nest from surrounding banks and silt. Adult flamingos grow to be about four feet tall and their weight ranges in the neighborhood of 5 pounds. The fluid feather body is lightly suspended on delicate long legs with a beak bill held low to observe the filter seawater and prey meals.
A flamingo may preen, call to its mate, filter food through its beak, or travel with the flock along the shore or waterland. The beak functions like a filter sucking protein through water held in the mouth and bill recess. Long legs enable wading and beak filling for forage fishing. The signature flamingo bending knee is really a back ankle joint allowing heat distribution through their leg. The ginger stepping flamingo bird has a unique visual and vocal signature known worldwide.
Flamingos survive in the Argentine, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and the Galapagos Islands. But Africa and India, as well as Europe enjoy flamingo natural habitations. Colorations and habits vary from habitat to habitat. Flamingos are more waterfowl than bird, groping through tidewaters and low lying waters for meals. The long legs of the flamingo keep it perched standing for long period of time and allow the feathered trunk to stay above water while browsing water snacks with their curving beak.
Flamingo as pets do not make ideal waterfowl domestication candidates. Flamingos do not have domesticated personalities and are not generally suited to training. Roaming limitation and feeding would present problems. Diseases and expert veterinary specialty alone can make this problematic. Flamingos appreciate flock feeding and take to domestication unevenly. The area and protective effort required to govern a private flock would be extensive and expensive, and perhaps not healthy for the animals.
Since flamingos do so much sorting and feeding with their bills, it seems rational the natural evolution of the flamingo species bill would be more developed and larger than many birds. The bill of the flamingo sorts food from mud and other material in a highly specialized manner involving cilia type growth inside the mandible and working the tongue.
The gentle stepping flamingo imitates the graceful swan in movement and the more predatory sand grouse in feeding behavior. The motion and group feeding and herding behavior of the flamingo is entertaining to watch. Flamingo motifs and shapes adorn everything from jewelry to stamps, paintings and sculpture. Natural herding of flamingo feeding and mating can be instructive and educational for bird lovers to record.
Flamingos are a familiar sight along tropical waters and rising rivers. Thin plumage aligning close to the body grows pink with bacterial and dietetic variances. Mating behavior utilizes coloration and gender distinctions in plumage. Constant "mining" of the waters an shallows yields shrimp and algae. Fish believing they have reached safer deeps can look up to find the flamingo beak bearing down on them. But zoos make a good job of displaying flamingo characteristics.
Baby flamingo chicks feed singly from parents by milk until their bill is grown enough to develop feeding and filtering skills. Zoological preservation of flamingos must include dietetic observation, bacterial and avian disease prevention, and behavioral study to explain certain behaviors. But flamingo predation includes bacterial interaction with a healthy environment, water supply cleanliness, co-habitation with man, and freedom from avian disease. Flamingos have featured as menu items for various cultures as delicacies.
Flamingo behaviors are amusing once enthusiasts know what to look for. Head flagging is a term know for elongating the neck and turning the head from side to side. Flocked marching denotes massed flamingo swerving in unison. Flamingos pretend to preen and cock necks and groom feathers to attract mates. Flamingos do fly but use wind and ground speed to aid takeoff.
Please visit Tropical Birds for information about tropical birds.
Tropical Bird Videos
- Talking Parrots
- Parrot Egg Hatching
- Budweiser Parrots
- Singing Parrot
- "The Real Macaw"
- Hummingbird Noises
- State Birds
- College Mascots
- Prevent Bird Strikes
- Audubon Society
- National Park Service
- Abraham Foundation
- World Parrot Trust