Flamingo Facts And Food

Flamingos are large birds that are identifiable by their long necks, their stick-like legs and reddish or pink feathers. Flamingos are a living example of the expression “you’re what you consume.” Flamingo feathers are pinkish as well as reddish due to their consumption of pigments that come from algae and other invertebrates.

Based on the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, (ITIS), there are six types of flamingo: Chilean flamingo (greater flamingo), Andean flamingo (lesser flamingo), Chilean flamingo (Andean flamingo), James’ (or puma) the flamingo, American flamingo (or Caribbean).

Flamingo facts

The species with the highest height is the greater flamingo. It can be 3.9 feet up to 4.7 feet (1.25 to 1.45 meters) tall and weigh as much as 7.7 pounds. According to Sea World, it weighs around 3.5 kilograms. The shortest species is the smaller flamingo, that measures 2.6 feet (80 cm) and weighs 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg). The wingspan of flamingos ranges from 37 inches (95 cm) to 59 inches (150 cm).

Habitat

American Flamingos are found in the West Indies, Yucatan, in the northern region of South America and along the Galapagos Islands. Chilean, Andean, and James’ flamingos are found in South America. The greater and lesser flamingos, however, reside in Africa. Additionally, you can find larger and lesser flamingos in India and in the Middle East.

Diet

According to Sea World, Flamingos eat tiny fish and larvae as well as blue-green and red alga, blue-green and roe algae and crustaceans. They are omnivores because they consume both meat and plants.

The pink color of the Flamingo is due to their diet, which is rich in beta carotene. This organic chemical is a pigment called a reddish-orange. (Beta carotene is also present in many plants, but is most prominently found in tomatoes, spinach, pumpkins, sweet potato and, of course, carrots.) The mollusks and crustaceans that flamingos are also a source of pigment-packed carotenoids.

The carotenoid levels in their food can vary in different regions around the world. This is the reason why American Flamingos are typically bright red and orange , while the less flamingos from central Kenya’s drought-stricken Lake Nakuru are paler pink.

If a flamingo ceases to eat carotenoids-rich foods and its feathers begin to grow in with a paler shade and eventually its reddish feathers will molt. The feathers that molt have lost their pink color.

The kind of beak a flamingo has will determine what it eats. Lesser, James’ and Andean Flamingos are known as having a deep-keeled bill. They mostly eat algae. The American, Chilean, and Chilean flamingos are larger and have deeper-keeled bill, which allows them to consume tiny fish, invertebrates and even insects.

For food, flamingos shake into the bottom of the lake with their feet , and then duck their beaks through the mud and the water to catch their dinner.

Habits

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The groups of flamingos are referred to as colonies or flocks. The colonies collaborate to protect one another from predators, and take care of their young.

The theory is that the flamingos are monogamous according to Sea World. They tend to stick with their partner once they’ve been had a mate. The flamingos of a group are able to mate at the same time, so all the chicks are born together. According to Smithsonian National Zoo, the nests are constructed of mounds of mud and each egg is laid by one of the pair.

The eggs are slightly bigger than large chicken eggs that measure 3 to 3.5 inches (78-90 millimeters long) and 5 to 4 ounces (115-140 grams). It can take between 27 and 31 days to hatch the egg. The chick that will emerge will weigh 2.5 to 3.0 pounds (73-90 grams) in weight. The young reach maturity in between the ages of three and five years of age.

Baby flamingos are gray or white. They’ll turn pink within the first couple years of life. Flamingos live 20 to 30 years wild, or as long as 50 years in the zoo.

Additional facts

Fossil evidence suggests that the group from which flamingos evolved is very old , and it was formed around 30 million years ago. This was before the other avian orders evolved, according to Sea World.

It isn’t really known why flamingos tend to stand on one foot However, it has been speculated that keeping their feet out of cold water helps them to save body heat. They also consider it to be a comfortable position to rest in.

Although flamingos are believed by many to be tropical birds, they can remain and thrive in cold areas as long as there is plenty of food and water.

In East Africa, more than 1 million flamingos have been known to gather together to form the largest flock known,

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