The Flamingo - information you might not know
Flamingos are social wading birds from the genus
Phoenicopterus and family Phoenicopteridae. They can be
found in the Eastern and Western Hemisphere. They have
greater numbers in the Eastern Hemisphere.
There are four species of Flamingo in the Americas and two
species of Flamingo in the Old World. There are two species
of Flamingo that are not classified with the other
Flamingos. The Andean and Jame's Flamingo are in the genus
What gives Flamingos their usual brilliant pink plumage is
beta carotene from the brine shrimp and blue green algae
that they eat. They have oddly shaped beaks that are adapted
for sifting through the mud and silt for brine shrimp. They
are able to filter food using lamellae which line the
mandibles and they separate food with their large rough-
Flamingos that are kept in zoos often lose their coloring
due to poor sources of beta carotene. Often zoo-kept
Flamingos are given Canthaxanthin, a food additive, so they
do not lose their brilliant plumage. Flamingo chicks feed on
milk produced by the parent Flamingos. The milk is produced
in the upper digestive tract by a hormone called prolactin.
Flamingos often stand on one leg while the other leg is
tucked beneath the body. Like some other animals, Flamingos
have the ability to have half of their body sleep, and when
one side is rested they switch sides so the other half of
the body can get rested. It is also suggested that they do
this to dry out one leg and then the other, as well as to
conserve energy. Flamingos are sometimes seen stamping the
mud to stir up food.
Young Flamingos have grey plumage until they can start
eating on their own. A healthy adult will be a brilliant
pink if it has a healthy diet. Often a mate is selected
because of the brilliance of the plumage. The paler (or even
white) plumage is an indicator that the Flamingo is
malnourished or unhealthy.
Flamingos are often selected to be zoo denizens because of
their odd appearance and exotic looks. They are also easy to
care for providing that the diet is supplemented enough to
keep the Flamingos nourished. They aren't highly aggressive
like some birds and are perfectly happy standing around in
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