Fun Facts about Flamingos, Pink Flamingos, and Everything Flamingos!
It has come to our attention, that despite our lawn flamingos being one of our most popular selling bird items, most of us know nothing about this bird including why flamingos are pink. For those with a curious mind, we have assembled some interesting facts about our fun yard flamingos that will help you impress all your friends into thinking not only are you wonderful for owning such unique pink flamingo decor, but youre practically a pink flamingo zoology expert!Did you know there are 6 different types of Flamingos!?:
Greater Flamingo - largest of the flamingos, has deep pink wings.
Caribbean Flamingo - slightly smaller than sir Greatness above.
Chilean Flamingo - slightly smaller than Caribbean, has gray legs with pink bands at joints.
James Flamingo - all black flight feathers including the secondary flight feathers (normally red in other flamingos).
Andean Flamingo - only species of flamingo with yellow legs and feet. Has a red spot between the nostrils.
Lesser Flamingo - smallest of all flamingos, yet the color is brighter that even the Greater Flamingo!
All flamingos, if not living in your own whimsical pink flamingo garden, are found in tropical and subtropical areas.Why are Flamingos Pink in color?
What makes Flamingos Pink is probably the most common question in general asked about flamingos. The simple answer is diet. A flamingo's pink or reddish feather, leg, and facial coloration comes from a diet high in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments, including canthaxanthin. The richest sources of carotenoids are found in the algae and various insects that make up the staples of a flamingo's diet. Could you imagine if we looked like what we ate? What would you look like?
The Most Interesting Flamingo Fact List Ever Assembled!
- Male flamingos are slightly larger than females; however, visual sex determination of flamingos is unreliable.
- Flamingos have good hearing and use vocalizations to keep flocks together and for parent-chick recognition.
- Vision plays an important role in helping flamingos synchronize collective displays (social behaviors) of several hundred to several thousand birds.
- Flamingos have little or no sense of smell.
- Tactile organs on their tongues are used to examine food taken in.
- They are capable of drinking water at temperatures that approach the boiling point.
- When flamingos are resting, they may sit down with their legs tucked beneath them or stand on one leg.
- While resting, flamingos face into the wind. This stops wind and rain from penetrating their feathers.
- A flamingo flies with its head and neck stretched out in front and its legs trailing behind.
- Flamingos excrete salt through salt glands in the nostrils.
- Flamingos are very social birds. Breeding colonies of a few individual flamingos are rare, while colonies of tens of thousands of birds are common.
- Flamingos devote considerable time to collective displays before, during, and after breeding.
- Several hundred to several thousand flamingos are all involved simultaneously with ritualized postures and movements to synchronize breeding.
- An oil gland near the base of the tail secretes oil that the flamingo distributes throughout its feathers.
- Through slow-motion photography, researchers discovered that "Lesser Flamingo" birds pump water through their bills 20 times a second to filter their food.
- Flamingos seek out fresh water for drinking.
- Flamingos reach sexual maturity several years after hatching and usually begin to breed at about six years of age.
- Flamingos most often lay one large egg. Females have been known to lay two eggs, but it is rare for both to hatch. If an egg is lost early in incubation, a second replacement egg may be laid. This process is called double clutching.
- Both the male and female take turns incubating the egg by sitting on top of the nest mound.
- Eggs that fall from the nesting mound are not retrieved.
- Because there are no regular breeding seasons, chicks hatch throughout the year
- Egyptians revered the flamingo as the living embodiment of the sun god Ra.
- When hatching, the flamingo chick breaks through the shell using a growth on its bill called an egg tooth. The egg tooth is not a true tooth and falls off soon after hatching.
- Parents are able to recognize their own chick by sight and vocalizations. They will feed no other chick.
- Adults feed their chicks a secretion of the upper digestive tract referred to as milk. Milk secretion is caused by the hormone prolactin, which both the male and female flamingo produce.
- Flamingo vocalizations range from nasal honking to grunting or growling. Flamingos are generally very noisy birds.
- GardenFun.com carries the most unique and whimsical Flamingo Garden Decor items. It's true! :)
- Experts have not yet determined how long flamingos live. At the Philadelphia Zoo, one flamingo lived 44 years.
- In early Roman times, flamingo tongues were carefully prepared, pickled, and served as a delicacy.
- Andean miners have killed flamingos for their fat, believed to be a cure for tuberculosis.
- SeaWorld feeds flamingos a special diet using submerged food trays used to accommodate flamingos' filter-feeding habits.
- If it is a murder of crows, then what is the term for a flock of flamingos? It's a pat of flamingos.
- Flamingos have knees that can bend backward. However, what we refer to as their knee, is actually their ankle.
- The word flamingo is most likely derived from the Latin, flamma, flame.
- Flamingos molt (shed and replace) their wing and body feathers at irregular intervals ranging from twice a year to once every two years.
- A flamingo's eye is actually larger than it's brain!A Few Pink Flamingo Jokes...
- Why do flamingos think with their eyes?
Because they're bigger than its brain!
- Why are flamingos pink?
Because they are what they eat.
- What's a flamingos favorite musical artist?
- Why do flamingos stand on one leg?
Because they love Yoga, (and yes if they lift the other, they would fall).
And for the more serious of flamingo researching geeks out there...The Scientific Classification of Flamingos:
The scientific classification of flamingos has puzzled taxonomists for years namely because the flamingo pelvis and ribs are similar to those of storks, the composition of egg-white proteins found in flamingo eggs are similar to herons, and flamingos also have webbed feet, waterproof plumage (covering of feathers), and behavioral patterns like geese.CLASS
Ciconiiformes (Long legs and long necks)
Due to confusion noted above, some scientists classify flamingos in their own Order Phoenicopteriformes.
Phoenicopteridae (Long legs, a long curved neck, and a gooselike voice)
There are 5 species of flamingos divided into three genera.
Where in the world to Flamingos live!?
- Phoenicopterus ruber is divided into two distinct and geographically separated subspecies: P. r. ruber and P. r. roseus.
- P. r. ruber, the Caribbean flamingo
- P. r. roseus, the Greater flamingo
- Phoenicopterus chilensis, the Chilean flamingo.
- Phoeniconaias minor, the Lesser flamingo.
- Phoenicoparrus jamesi, the James' flamingo.
- Phoenicoparrus andinus, the Andean flamingo.
Flamingoes live by lagoons, or lakes, where there is lots of mud and water. Flamingos use a variety of habitats including mangrove swamps, tidal flats, and sandy islands in the intertidal zone. The depth of the water is especially important not only for feeding but for nesting.
Here is a closer look at flamingo distribution:
Can Flamingos Fly? Do Flamingos Migrate?....YES & YES!
- Populations of Chilean flamingos are found in central Peru, both coasts of southern South America, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil.
- The Lesser flamingo is primarily an African species. Populations are found in eastern, southwestern, and western Africa. There is also a sizable population in India.
- The James' flamingo has the most restricted range of all flamingo species. They are only found in southern Peru, northeastern Chile, western Bolivia, and northwestern Argentina.
- Andean flamingos are found in southern Peru, north-central Chile, western Bolivia, and northwestern Argentina.
- Populations of Caribbean flamingo are limited to Yucatan, parts of the West Indies, Bahamas, those famous Darwinian Galapagos Islands, and the northernmost tip of South America.
- The Greater flamingo has the most widespread distribution of all flamingo species. Populations are found in northwest India, the Middle East, the western Mediterranean, and Africa. Limited numbers of this species can also be found over much of northern Europe, eastward to Siberia.
Flamingos must run first to gather some speed when taking off. Their Wingspans range from 3.3 to 5 feet, and they flap their wings almost continuously in flight. They normally only fly when startled or for purposes of migration.
It's true that Flamingos are generally non-migratory birds, however, due to changes in the climate and water levels in their breeding areas, flamingo colonies are not always permanent (global warming?). For instance, populations that breed in high-altitude lakes which may freeze over in the winter, move to warmer areas at those times. Drought conditions also may force some flamingo populations to relocate.
When flamingos migrate, they do so mainly at night. They prefer to fly with a cloudless sky and favorable tailwinds. They can travel approximately 373 miles (600 km) in one night at about 31-37 mph (50-60 kph). When traveling during the day, the flamingos fly at high altitudes, possibly to avoid predation by eagles.