Are you looking for flamingo facts that you can use for your school project? You have come to the right place! These 50 flamingo fun facts will help you!
Of the various wading birds, flamingos are easy to recognize. Even if you haven’t really seen one in real life, you can still quickly recognize them because of their long legs, long and curvy necks, and of course their unique red-pink color. They are majestic and yet, they are often hilarious.
So, let’s dig in!
Flamingo Facts: 1-10
1. There are six distinct species of flamingos. They are: ‘Greater Flamingo,’ ‘Lesser Flamingo,’ ‘Chilean Flamingo,’ ‘Andean Flamingo,’ ‘James’ Flamingo or Puna Flamingo,’ and ‘American Flamingo or Caribbean Flamingo.’
2. Adult flamingos are 4 feet to 5 feet tall, however, they weigh anywhere between 4 pounds and 8 pounds. This low body density allows the flamingos to fly.
3. Lagoons and mudflats are the usual places where you can find flamingo congregations. They choose these areas because it is easy to find shallow saltwater prey.
4. Flamingos have a unique way of hunting. They will use their feet to stir up the mud and then scoop up a beakful of the mud along with water. The beaks are highly specialized as they will filter out the muddy water after straining out the animals in the mud.
5. Flamingos will strain out the animals and expel the muddy water while keeping their heads upside-down.
6. The only flamingo species that is native to North America is the American Flamingo or the Caribbean Flamingo.
7. Compared to the Greater Flamingo, the American Flamingo is brightly colored.
8. The Greater Flamingo can be found in the coastal areas of Asia, Southern Europe, and Africa.
9. The Greater Flamingo is the world’s most widespread flamingo species. The Lesser flamingo, on the other hand, is the world’s most numerous flamingo species.
10. Flamingos are never born pink. They are born with grey feathers. These grey feathers eventually turn pink.
Flamingo Facts: 11-20
11. The feathers of flamingos turn pink because of a chemical known as the canthaxanthin. It is a keto-carotenoid pigment.
12. The canthaxanthin enters the body of the flamingos from the food they eat. The diet of the flamingos is primarily made of blue-green algae and brine shrimp, red algae, and mollusks, small insects, larvae, and small fish that contain this chemical.
13. Flamingos in a zoo can turn white if they are given food that does not contain flamingo chow (flamingo food) or live shrimp that contains the chemical canthaxanthin.
14. The flight feathers of the flamingos are black and not pink. The flight feathers become visible when they fly. Because the flight feathers are located under their wings, they are not visible when the birds are not flying.
15. A flock of flamingos can contain up to several hundred flamingos.
16. Flamingos, like many other animal species, perform mating displays. However, these wading birds perform their mating displays or mating dance together. They look funny and some even call the mating dance as flamingo flamenco.
17. Though flamingos will display mating rituals in groups, different species will have something different in their performances.
18. A mating flamingo pair is known for building its nest together. Both the father and the mother are known to sit on the egg. Flamingo eggs incubate for nearly 30 days.
19. Flamingos are known for stealing the nests of other mating flamingo pairs. It is just easier!
20. A mating flamingo pair not only needs to guard their nest and egg against predators but also from other flamingo pairs looking for an opportunity to steal a nest.
Flamingo Fun Facts: 21-30
21. Both flamingo parents are known to feed the newborn chick. The first food that they feed their chick is called ‘crop milk.’ It is a liquid baby food that they prepare in their throats. As the chick grows and develops, the parents will then start feeding regurgitated food.
22. Flamingo chicks are born with grey and white plumage, which doesn’t turn pink until the chick attains the age of 2 years.
23. The beaks of flamingo chicks are straight at birth. As the chicks grow, the beaks gradually start to become curved.
24. Usually, other birds (like birds of prey) are the natural predators of flamingos because of the fact that flamingos build their nests on swampland and mudflats. This doesn’t mean that other land animals don’t eat flamingos. Whenever they get a chance, they do!
25. Flamingos are strong swimmers but they rarely swim!
26. Flamingos are very powerful fliers but they are mostly seen and recognized as wading birds. Flamingos can fly as high as 10,000 to 15,000 feet.
27. Flamingos are known for often migrate or even fly between nesting grounds and best food sources.
28. Flying flamingos may look wobbly and clumsy fliers but that is definitely not the case. The wobbly appearance comes from the fact that their long legs keep dangling way past their short tails and their long necks stretch out in front of their bodies.
29. While flying in a flock, flamingos can attain a speed of 56 kilometers per hour or 35 miles per hour.
30. Legs of adult flamingos can reach the length of 30 to 50 inches.
Flamingo Fun Facts: 31-40
31. What is generally referred to as the backward bending knee of a flamingo is actually the ankle. The true knee is very close to the body and usually remains hidden because of the plumage.
32. Flamingos are often seen standing on one leg with the other one tucked under their bodies. Some say it is for preserving body heat but this theory is not yet proven.
33. Even though the flamingos can keep standing on one leg for hours together, studies show that they do not get any kind of muscle strain thus essentially doing that without any effort.
34. Flamingos do not have any teeth. Of course, you knew that! However, their tongue and their beaks are lined with a hair-like structure known as the lamellae. These structures help to filter out the silt and mud when they feed.
35. Flamingo eggs are just like chicken eggs. The white encloses the yellow or reddish yolk. There are cases where the yolk has been observed to have a pink hue.
36. Flamingos are gregarious birds. This means that they usually form large flocks. They do not do well in small numbers. A typical flock can contain several hundred flamingos but flocks with over a million flamingos have also been observed.
37. A flamingo flock is known as flamboyance, or regiment, or colony, or a stand. Learn more about Names of Groups of Birds.
38. In the wild, the lifespan of a flamingo is 20 years to 30 years. In captivity, a flamingo can live up to 50 years or more.
38. Flamingos, in general, are of Least Concern, however, the Andean flamingo is a threatened species. It has been tagged as “vulnerable” under the IUCN list.
39. The Greater Flamingo is the tallest of all flamingo species while the Lesser Flamingo is the smallest of all.
40. The flamingo is the national bird of the Bahamas.
Facts of Flamingo: 41-50
41. Of the six species of flamingos, two species live in the Old World (Asia, Africa, and Europe) while the remaining four species live in the New World (Americas).
42. The Spanish word ‘flamenco’ is from where the term flamingo is derived. Flamenco, in turn, has originated from the Latin word ‘flamma,’ which means fire or flame.
43. The flamingos are known to hold their breath while they feed.
44. Flamingos are monogamous, that is, they live with only one partner. They also produce only one egg a year.
45. Flamingo chicks are usually born in a nest made of mud.
46. Flamingos spend anywhere between 15% and 30% of their day time cleaning their feathers. They will spread a special oil produced in a gland all over their feathers using their beaks.
47. Greater Flamingo, Chilean flamingo, and American flamingo have what is known as shallow-keeled bills. The shallow-keeled bills allow the flamingos of these three species to eat small fish, invertebrates, and insects.
48. The Lesser flamingo, the James’ flamingo, and the Andean flamingo have what is known as deep-keeled bills. This type of bill allows these three species to feed mainly on algae.
49. There exists is another flamingo species known as the Plastic Lawn Flamingo (Phoenicopterus plasticus). Well, you guessed it! They are made of plastic and was introduced by Don Featherstone in the year 1957. They became a cultural icon.
50. Plastic Lawn Flamingo is considered as endangered in the 21st century and there are efforts made to revive this art form. In 2009, Madison city of Wisconsin declared the Plastic Lawn Flamingo as its official bird!
BONUS Fact: Did you know that the Romans used to eat flamingo tongues? The flamingo tongue was considered a delicacy in ancient Rome.
Well, that concludes our list of flamingo facts. Do you know any other facts that we can put on the list? Drop us a message!