While standing, they might look a little gangly and odd but while flying they are a sight to behold. They are very strong and sturdy flyers and their top speed can reach up to 35 miles per hour. They are flamingos—a rare and exquisite species of birds. They have been endowed with beautiful flaming red color feathers by Mother Nature, though some can be spotted with pink or orange feathers. Hence, these bright red birds were named flamingo, derived from the Latin word ‘flamma’ meaning ‘a flame’. These social birds migrate long distances in flocks, with each comprising of hundreds of birds. Ranging from hot volcanic lakes to frozen lakes in the Andean mountains, flamingos inhabit different regions across the world due to their high adaptability. There are a whole lot interesting and amazing facts about these birds. Get introduced to an entire new world of these dramatic unique birds.
Group Name: Colony, flock
Length: 3.3-4.6 feet
Weight: 1.4-4 kg
Lifespan: 20-30 years
Diet: Algae, insects, shrimps, mollusks.
Habitat: Shallow lakes, tidal flats, lagoons, mangrove swamps and areas where the ocean mixes with fresh water.
Age of Sexual Maturity: 3 years
Gestation Period: 28 days
Number of Offspring: 1 per year
Interesting And Fun Facts About Flamingos
- Flamingos are regarded as the most beautiful tall birds in the world.
- A flock of flamingos is sometimes referred to as a flamboyance of flamingos.
- Flamingos are categorized into six different species, four of them reside in America and two in Asia, Africa and Europe. Those found in America are Chilean Flamingo, James’s Flamingo, Andean Flamingo and Caribbean Flamingo, while the other two are Greater Flamingo and Lesser Flamingo.
- Interestingly, flamingos rest and sleep on one leg to conserve energy and maintain their body temperature.
- The long neck of a flamingo comprises of 19 bones, with the weird and unusually created beak and feathers made up of keratin, a tough substance.
- Flamingos have a large, soft, fleshy tongue, which is quite rare among birds.
- A flamingo’s night vision is not as good as that of many other nocturnal creatures but it is still better than humans.
- A flamingo can sit down by bending its legs backwards.
- The legs of an adult flamingo are almost 30 to 50 inches long, much longer than their entire body which makes them look gawky.
- Flamingos can recognize and distinguish between various colors.
- Their vision helps them in synchronization while flying in a large flock.
- Adult flamingos have a wide wingspan of 55-65 inches, which enables them to fly long distances without taking many breaks.
- Despite being pretty tall, flamingos are proficient swimmers. However, they cannot swim in shallow water.
- Flamingos have webbed feet which assist them in swimming and maneuvering in soft mud.
- Flamingos do not breathe during the eating process.
- The feeding process of a flamingo is very interesting. It stirs water with its feet, buries its entire head and bill upside down in water and sucks up both mud and water. It then moves its head from side to side to extract plankton, small fish and fly larva from water and mud.
- The largest among the flamingo species is greater flamingo, reaching five feet tall and weighing almost eight pounds, while the smallest is the lesser flamingo measuring almost three feet tall.
- During migration season, a flock of flamingos can cover an astounding distance of 300 miles at one go in a single night.
- Each flamingo mates with a single female and hence is monogamous.
- Flamingos lay a single egg during nesting season and if by some reason the egg is lost or broken, they do not lay another egg that season.
- Both male and female flamingos take part in building the nest by piling up mud. The nests can be 12-20 inches in diameter.
- Flamingo hatchlings are born with grey or white feathers and it is only after three years that their feathers change their color to pink, orange or red, similar to their parents.
- Among flamingos, parenting is not the sole responsibility of the female. Both male and female secrete milk-like liquid which provides sustenance and nourishment to the chicks.
- Flamingos can emit nasal sounds like honking, grunting and growling which play an important role in keeping the flock together and helping parents and children to identify each other in large flocks.
- Communication among flamingos is not limited to just vocalization of various sounds but a wide range of visual antics are also used.
- Flamingos have a poorly developed sense of taste like most bird species.
- They possess little or no ability to smell their surroundings or food.
- When kept in captivity, flamingos lose their bright shades and turn yellowish in color mainly due to lack of their natural diet, which is carotene food.