Have you ever spotted a flamingo in close range? When you spot a flamingo, you’ll notice two striking features about the creature. One, it’s likely going to be pink, and two, it has long legs. These colorfully feathered birds are mostly known for their long legs.
Flamingos are usually 3 – 5 feet tall. They are found in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, South American, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.
Flamingos live in large flocks in aquatic areas. These birds flock together on salt flats, lakes, swamps, and lagoons all over the world. They feed on algae, shrimp, and insects.
Their sharp claws and hooky beak helps them tear flesh apart. But interestingly, these birds do not attack humans or even living animals.
Now here goes the question.
What Is a Group of Flamingos Called?
A group of flamingos is called ‘flamboyance.’ It is quite unusual as a group of birds is often referred to as a flock.
However, both male and female flamingos go by the name ‘flamingo.’ A baby flamingo is called a flaminglet. However, the dictionary refers to all newly hatched birds as chicks or chicklets.
The word flamingo is derived from the Latin and Spanish word ‘flamenco,’ which means ‘fire’ or ‘flamed-colored.’ It refers to the bird’s bright colored feathers. However, not all species of flamingos have bright colors. Some appear in white or gray colors.
Continue reading for more information on this topic.
Why Do Flamingos Stand On One Leg
Often, Flamingos are found standing on one leg for a long time. And they are very stable and comfortable in this position. Surprisingly, these animals go as far as sleeping while standing on one leg.
If you’d ever seen a flamingo, you’d probably be wondering why they stand on one leg. Let’s find out why.
Well, for a long time, people assumed flamingos practiced this as a way of conserving heat. However, some bird researchers do not agree with this.
Some birds (like flamingos) have a network of closely packed blood vessels in their legs. These blood vessels help in conserving and recapturing body heat. So, flamingos already conserve heat naturally.
According to research, a flamingo doesn’t have to be alive to stand on one leg. Scientists carried out an experiment using a dead flamingo. And, the dead flamingo was quite stable on one leg.
The research found that the most stable position is when their foot is directly underneath the bird. They found this position to trigger their joint locks. And this prevents flamingos from falling on their sides while sleeping.
So, as long as their feet are placed at the right angle, the flamingos can stand upright. And this also makes it possible for even a dead flamingo to stand on one leg with little assistance.
So, for flamingos, standing on one leg is more like an energy-saving mechanism. The birds are naturally wired that way. And that’s why it’s so easy for them. Nevertheless, further research is needed in this area.
Interestingly, flamingos are not the only creations found with this habit. Animals like ducks, swans and geese also stand on one leg. However, that of a flamingo could be more noticed because of their long legs.
Can I Eat Flamingos
Well, flamingos are very safe to eat, and you can eat them. However, you shouldn’t. In the US and many other countries, it is illegal to eat or hunt a flamingo. The US Federal Law and International agreements protect these birds.
Centuries ago, flamingos were killed for food and their feathers sold. Because of this, some species of flamingos have been extinct. So, they outlawed the hunting and eating of these birds.
However, domestic birds like chicken, certain ostriches, and pheasants can be sold and used for food.
Well, you may be wondering what a flamingo would taste like. Flamingos taste more like a duck. They are also said to have a slight fish taste.
How Do Flamingos Get Their Pink Color
Flamingos are mostly recognized for their pinkish color. While that is very true, ever seen a gray or white colored flamingo? Well, most flamingos are born in a dull gray color. It then means that these beautiful pink feathers aren’t hereditary.
So if these pink feathers aren’t nature’s gift, how do they get their pink color?
Flamingos get the pinkish color of their feathers from beta-carotene. It is a red-orange pigment contained within the food they eat. Flamingos eat more algae, larvae, plankton, and shrimp, which contain beta-carotene.
However, the brightness of a flamingo’s color is dependent on how much carotenoid pigments they consume.
Typically, there are six species of flamingos. And they are spread across several continents in the world. Because of this, their colors differ based on their location and the kind of food available to them.
And so, you find that some flamingos have a darker shade of pink feathers than others. Some others appear in red, orange, or white colors. Again, their color varies depending on the species.
However, the Caribbean flamingo has the brightest color of the six species. But, when flamingos are well fed, their feathers tend to get brighter. Interestingly, flamingos are also pink on the inside. They have pink blood.
What You Should Know About Flamingos
Flamingos have amazing features that make them stand out from other animals. Let’s look at some of them.
Types of Flamingos:
There are six species of flamingos. They include;
- The Greater Flamingo
- The Lesser flamingo
- The Andean flamingo,
- The Chilean flamingo
- The Puna flamingo
- The Caribbean flamingo.
Four species are found across America. The Greater and Lesser flamingos are found in Africa. You can also find the Greater flamingos in the Middle East. The Andean, Chilean and Puna flamingos are seen in South America.
However, Andean flamingos are the rarest species to find. They are usually seen in the high mountains of South America.
The last is the Caribbean flamingo. These species are seen in Mexico.
The tallest and heaviest flamingo is the greater flamingo. It is about 3.9 – 4.7 feet tall and weighs 4.6 – 9 pounds.
However, the Lesser flamingo is the shortest and lightest flamingo. It is 2.6 – 2.9 feet tall and weighs 3.3 to 4.4 pounds. Male flamingos of all species are larger than female flamingos.
The feeding Style:
Flamingos boasts a unique eating style. They hold their bill upside down in the water while feeding. The flamingos’ long legs help them to wade in deep water. And it helps them to look for food.
Also, their long necks and strongly hooked bills allow them to catch prey easily. The bill has briny plates known as lamellae. The lamellae act more like a filter. It helps the flamingos to trap their food.
Marriage, Reproduction and Death:
The flamingo marriage is unique and different compared to other birds. Flamingos are monogamous animals. Usually, the female chooses her male partner. And, they stay together as a couple as long as they can reproduce.
However, the female will find another partner if they are unable to reproduce together. Flamingos lay only one egg in a year. Usually, when an egg is laid, the couple builds a nest together. And they both sit on the egg while it incubates. It could take a month to incubate.
Most flamingos may steal an already built nest. So, flamingos protect their nest from other flamingos and predestine. When the egg hatches, the parents take turns feeding the baby flamingo.
They produce a liquid baby food from their throats called ‘crop milk’ to feed the flaminglet. However, as the child grows, it starts to feed on regular flamingo food.
The parents tend to lose their colors as they feed their young. But, they gradually recover it as soon as the flamiglet starts feeding on its own. Flaminglets are born with gray and white feathers. And, it takes them three years to get their pink feathers.
Unlike other animals, flamingos live very long. Flamingos may live up to 20 – 30 years in the wild. However, those in captivity can live up to 50 years.
Usually, adult flamingos do not have many predators. Since they build their nests on mudflats or swampland, the most common predators for flamingos are other birds. Their habitat isn’t suitable for most animals.
Again, since they move together, it keeps predators away. However, the flaminglets are usually hunted by larger birds like eagles.
A group of flamingos is called ‘flamboyance.’ They are usually known for their long legs and pinkish color. Flamingos are usually 3 – 5 feet tall. Greater flamingos are the tallest, while lesser flamingos are the shortest.
Surprisingly, their pink feathers aren’t nature’s gift. It comes from the beta-carotene pigments contained in their food. So, the more beta-carotene content they take in, the brighter their feathers tend to get.
Flamingos are very safe to eat. However, it is illegal to eat or hunt a flamingo in the US and many other countries. They are protected by the US Federal Law and International agreements.