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Facts About Flamingos

Here’s there more to a flamingo other than its beautiful pink feathers. Learn more about these bizarre birds with these fun Facts About Flamingos, some of which might surprise you!

Facts About Flamingos

Nests of Flamingos are constructed of mud.
A flamingo’s nest is a miniature mud volcano and can accommodate one huge egg. Flamingos are monogamous, and parents and mom are partners. Both contribute to the nest and hatch the eggs. Flamingo chicks are born with feathers that are white-gray, downy as well as the straight bill. It takes time to develop their signature pink color and hook-shaped bills.

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has been home to flamingos since its inception over 130 years back. Bird Housekeepers have worked to breed flamingos in the beginning of the 90s. They have received around 120 chicks through the many years!

A flamingo flock on nests of mud made to appear like miniature volcanoes. One Flamingo on the foreground has a chick on its wings. Other flamingos are behind.

Flamingos acquire their pink color due to their diet.
Flamingos actually are what they consume. A variety of plants produce natural yellow, red or orange hues, referred to as carotenoids. Carotenoids provide carrots with their orange hue or turn ripe red tomatoes. They are also present in the micro-sized algae that the brine shrimp consume. While a flamingo feasts on brine shrimp and algae, its body processes the pigments, making its feathers pink.

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Flamingos are filter feeders . They turn their head “upside downwards” to feed.
The term “filter feeder” might bring up pictures of baleen whales and oyster reefs; however, flamingos are also filter feeders. They feed on algae, small seeds tiny crustaceans (like brine shrimp), fly larvae, and other animals and plants living in shallow water.

If it’s time for a meal, the Flamingo puts its head upside down into the water, and has its bill towards its feet. It then swishes its head from side to side, by using its tongue to pump water into and out of its bill. The plates resembling combs along the bill’s edges form the filtering mechanism for water to flow out and, in turn, trap food within.

The pink group with legs resembling stems and long curving necks stands in a pond in winter. The snow can be seen in the trees surrounding them, and steam comes out of hot water.
In warmer climates, flamingos stay cool by swimming in the water. Bird Housekeepers use this natural thermoregulation technique to keep Zoo’s visitors warm in winter months. The pool for flamingos is heated up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that the birds are comfortable regardless of whether it’s snowing.

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The grouping of the flamingos is described as a pretension.
The grouping of birds can be described as murder. A group of geese is known as a gaggle. What is an assemblage of flamingos known as? A flamboyance! Other collective nouns used for the Flamingo include pat, stand and colony.

The Zoo’s historical Bird House may be closed for renovations, however, Zookeepers continue to care for the more than sixty Caribbean Flamingos (also known as American flamingos) in the background. The wild flamingos can are seen in the thousands! Scientists believe that there are over 200 000 Caribbean wild flamingos and there are populations of around areas like the Bahamas and Cuba, Mexico, and the Southern Caribbean — as in a smaller group of 400-500 individuals located in the Galapagos Islands.

A close-up of a flamingo sporting vibrant pink feathers, resting the head of its body

There are six species of flamingos.
Alongside Caribbean Flamingos, James’s (or Puna), Chilean and Andean flamingos. Greater flamingos can be found in areas of Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are the biggest and tallest species of Flamingo.

Chilean, Andean, and James’s flamingos can be found on the continent of South America. Andean flamingos are the most scarce out of six types with less than 40 000 birds. The flamingos with fewer flamingos can be located in Africa and in southern Asia. These are among the least populated of flamingos and also the largest. Over two million smaller flamingos dazzling the skies and beaches with their beautiful pink plumage.

Don’t let your eyes deceive you — a flamingo’s knees don’t bend backward!
Flamingo legs are bent as human legs. What appears to be the knee of a flamingo is actually the ankle joint. The knees of a flamingo are further up the leg and are hidden by feathers and the body. Confused? Imagine a flamingo sitting on tiptoe. When your leg bends to the side, that’s when that you can see bending.

Some flamingos live in extreme environments.
Flamingos typically reside in shallow brackish or saltwater waters (where freshwater and saltwater mix). Certain species of flamingos breed and rear their youngsters in extremely salty bodies water, also known as”alkaline” and “soda” lakes. The carbonate-rich salts found in these lakes is extremely corrosive and can cause skin irritation and render the water inaccessible for most animals.

Researchers are still figuring out the distinctive aspects of the Flamingo’s anatomy such as the tough skin of its legs which help it endure the harsh conditions of the ocean. However, the high salt levels can cause harm to the chicks of flamingos when salt rings form over their legs, rendering it difficult for them to walk.

Flamingo parents give their chicks liquids they secrete. It’s called crop milk.
The Flamingo’s “milk” is made through it’s”crop” (part in its throat) and then released by its mouth. It’s not a pleasant sound but a flamingo’s milk is a treasure trove of nutritious fats and proteins. Both parents produce crop milk to provide a chick with a flamingo’s diet until it’s mature enough to eat on its own.

A flamingo chick with white feathers that are downy, with long legs and a long straight bill is seen in grass close to an area of water.

Yes, flamingos can fly.
You might be used to seeing flamingos assembled in large numbers on the ground. However, they also fly. Some flamingos fly for breeding, travel to a different body of water when the seasons change or migrate to higher altitudes, warmer areas to winterize. If flamingos are traveling across long distances, they typically travel at the evening.

Flamingos can rest in one leg.
Flamingos can be on their feet for long durations, sometimes long enough to get sleep. Why do they do this balancing act? Studies suggest that flamingos utilize more power muscles when they stand on two legs, and standing on one leg could be less exhausting.

Scientists believe that a stance with only one leg can help flamingos stay warm. Birds shed body heat through their legs. Standing on one leg while tucking the opposite leg beneath their belly can reduce the amount of heat that escapes through their feet and legs.

Harrison Jones
Harrison Jones
Harrison has been a freelance financial reporter for the past 6 years. He knows the major trends in the financial world. Jones’ experience and useful tips help people manage their budgets wisely.


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