Pink flamingo, or common flamingo, (lat. Phoenicopterus roseus) is a species of bird from the Phoenicopteriformes order. The Greater flamingo is the most common type of flamingo.
Flamingos cannot be confused with any other bird due to the structure of the body and the color of the plumage. These are rather large birds – height 120–145 cm (43–59 in), weight 2–4 kg (4.4–8.8 lb), wingspan 149–165 cm (59–65 in), and females are smaller than males.
In total, there are 6 species of these birds that live in Africa, South America, South and Southeast Asia.These are social birds, they gather in flocks, in which there are tens of thousands of individuals. Thus, flamingos form the largest flocks in the world.
Facts and information about flamingos
1. Flamingos is a large bird with beautiful pink or red feathers, also known for its long legs and slightly curved long beak.
2. The birds got their name from the Latin word flamenco – “fire”, which refers to their bright color.
3. Today, 6 species of flamingos live on Earth: Greater flamingo, Lesser flamingo, Chilean flamingo, James’s flamingo, Andean flamingo and American flamingo.
4. Flamingos prefer to live near salty shallow lakes, in coastal lagoons, on shallows and near estuaries.
5. Flamingos belong to one of the oldest bird families. Flamingo fossils closest to modern forms date back to 30 million years ago, while fossils of more primitive species have been found that are more than 50 million years old. The fossils were found in places where flamingos no longer live today – in parts of Europe, North America and Australia. This indicates that they had a much wider range in the past.
6. Voice. A low, goose-like chuckle, as well as grunt-like sounds.
Voice of the greater flamingo
7. The greater flamingo is the most common type of flamingo. Common, or pink flamingos live in Africa, Southern Europe and Southwest Asia. They are the largest of the flamingos.
8. In Europe, flamingos nest in the Camargue Nature Reserve, at the mouth of the Rhone River (Southern France), as well as in Las Marismas in Southern Spain. In Africa, the bird nests on the lakes of Morocco, Southern Tunisia, Northern Mauritania, Kenya, the Cape Verde Islands, and the south of the continent. It also lives on the lakes of Southern Afghanistan in the mountains, North-Western India (Kach) and Sri Lanka.
9. James’s flamingo live only in South America: in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.
10. It is estimated that the common flamingo eats up to a quarter of its own weight of food per day. A colony of half a million pink flamingos in India consumes approximately 145 tons (320,000 pounds) of food per day.
11. The lesser flamingo lives in Africa and the northern parts of India and is the smallest of the flamingos.
12. The greater flamingo have the palest feather colors, while Caribbean flamingos are famous for their bright pink, almost red feathers.
13. The pink or red color of flamingo plumage is given by lipochrome dyes, which birds receive with food.
14. Flamingos are social birds that live in groups of various sizes. They congregate in huge flocks when flying long distances, but prefer to stay in small groups when on the ground.
15. When eating, flamingos lower their heads under water, draw in water with their beaks, sifting through the nutritious foods that they eat, and the water comes out through the upper beak. Tiny, hair-like filters help weed out food and release water. One study showed that a special float that supports the bird’s head allows it to feed by turning its head upside down and keeping it on the surface of the water.
16. The flamingo is depicted on the coat of arms of the Bahamas.
17. The long legs of flamingos help them to walk along the bottom even at relatively great depths in search of food, which gives them some advantages over other birds.
18. The ancient Romans highly valued flamingo tongue as a delicacy. Today, flamingo meat and eggs are also a delicacy in different parts of the world.
19. Flamingos can also be found on high mountain lakes. In addition, they can withstand very large temperature fluctuations.20. Equality reigns in the flamingo family structure. Here, both the male and the female are involved in the process of bearing and then rearing the chicks. Male flamingos incubate eggs on a par with the female.
21. Flamingos are active during the day and sleep at night.
22. Everyone knows that flamingos sleep on one leg. Ornithologists are still arguing why they need it. Perhaps the bird is resting one leg while using the other to sleep, or resembling a reed, which is important when hunting after sleep. Studies show that flamingos, by raising one leg up, reduce heat loss. Be that as it may, the question remains.
23. The closest relatives of flamingos are geese.
24. The neck of a flamingo is long and thin, so the bird often gets tired and throws its head behind its back to rest.
25. The average age of a flamingo’s life is about 30 years. In reserves and zoos, these birds live even longer.
26. Flamingos cannot take off from a standstill, they need a run to take off.
27. Flamingos are monogamous, they can form pairs both for one season and for several years. Courtship is accompanied by loud cries, ritual postures with spread wings and ruffled feathers, as well as group ceremonial runs with high raising of the legs and sudden stops. The mating ritual is strictly species-specific, so even if the colony is formed by several species of flamingos, mixed pairs are not formed and hybrids are unknown.
28. Clutch contains 1-2 large white eggs. Both partners take part in incubation and feeding of chicks. Incubation lasts 27–33 days, and in hot areas it rather turns into protection of the masonry from overheating.
29. In appearance, the flamingo chick is similar to the cubs of other birds. Even his beak is the most ordinary, not curved.
30. Chicks fledge 65-90 days after birth. By the time of hatching from the eggs of the chicks, the goiter of the parents approximately triples. From the esophagus, a creamy mass begins to stand out, the so-called bird’s milk, which is a mixture of semi-digested crustaceans, aquatic insect larvae and secretions from the walls of the esophagus itself. The mixture has a light pink color due to the presence of carotenoids and the blood of lactating birds, and is close in composition to the milk of mammals. The parents regurgitate this “bird’s milk” and feed it to the chicks from their beaks.
31. Milk is given not only by females, but also by males, and the production is controlled by the same hormone as in all mammals, including humans.
32. Flamingos also have “kindergartens”, where chicks, under the supervision of several adult caregivers, spend all the time while their parents get food. In such a group there can be up to 200 chicks, but any parent quickly finds his child by voice.
33. Young flamingos become adults by the age of 3-4, and start breeding at the 5th year of life.
34. Flamingos fly at 60 km/h (37 mph) and can fly 500-600 km (310-370 miles) in one day.
35. The neck of a flamingo in a straight line is equal to the length of the legs.
36. Alice, the heroine of Lewis Carroll, once in Wonderland, instead of a mallet for playing croquet, used a flamingo.
37. In ancient Egypt, the hieroglyph with the silhouette of a flamingo meant both the birds themselves and the color red. Flamingos were also considered to be the reincarnation of the Sun God Ra.
38. These birds do well in captivity. That is why they can be found in almost any zoo in the world.
39. Flamingos suffer to a greater extent not from predators, but from the vicissitudes of the climate (droughts, floods) and the unpredictable hydro regime of reservoirs.
40. Flamingos often settle on saline lakes and strain food from salt water. They also drink brackish or alkaline water. However, the “salinization” of the body does not threaten them – these birds have well-developed salt-excreting glands.