First of all, young flamingos are not pink, they are gray (like an elephant) for the first three years of their growth, after which they turn pink. Not all adult flamingos are pink either though most are either pink or a shade of red close to pink. Among the five species of flamingo on Earth, the Caribbean flamingo is a very bright pink-red. In common, adult flamingos are either red, green, or somewhere between. However, that still begs the big question; “Why flamingos are always pink”.
Genetics seems the obvious answer, but it is not the right one. There’s an old saying that “You are everything you eat”, and flamingos are pink because of their diet. If people place a flamingo inside captivity, then give it something to nibble on instead of its normal diet, it will start to lose its dyes, and eventually be more of the white color than lilac. The truth is that people don’t discover a lot more about white flamingos in zoos since the zookeepers are careful to give the flamingos a special food, containing each of the nutrients they could have obtained in their normal habitats.
Flamingos are one of an exciting types of animals in the world. They are famous and very recognizable birds because of its red-purple colored feather. These birds usually live in mangrove swamps, shallow lakes and sandy islands of Asia, Africa, and Europe. There are 6 known species of them out there. There are distinct from several other types of birds due to the length of their legs. They are not usually seen flying, but they probably can do it just like any other birds. It was long debated if they should be considered as ducks or strokes. Eventually, it was agreed that they should have their special classification. However, what makes them unique that they can easily capture the attention of birders and non-birders the same? These interesting flamingo facts may surprise you!
- Adult bird is almost 3.3-4.6 feet tall and weighs approximately 3.3-9 pounds
- Flamingo’s wingspan ranges between 3.3-5 feet.
- The color of their feather is due to their diet: pigments in their food (known as carotenoids) are the cause of pink and red colors of their feathers. They eat algae, shrimps, crustaceans, etc.
- When they eat, their head is typically positioned upside-down. They filter the food and suck water.
- Flamingos always hold their breath while feeding.
- When migrating, they fly approximately 37 miles per hour and travel distance of more than 300 miles to arrive at their new habitat.
- Flamingos spend about 15-30% of the day in cleaning their unique feathers: oil produced in a special gland will be distributed over feathers with the assistance of their beak.
- Flamingos live in huge groups called colonies. Some colonies comprise of million birds.
- Baby flamingos will hatch in the nest which is made of mud.
- They are monogamous, and they produce one egg annually.