Science

Fascinating facts about flamingos

Reddish-pink bunch of flamingos on the seashore is truly a photographer’s delight.

Flamingos, the beautiful birds are generally observed near coastal regions of America along with some parts of Asia, the Caribbean region, and Africa. The term “flamingo” comes from the Spanish or Portuguese word “Flamengo” which means, flame color. Let’s find out some interesting facts about these beautiful creatures.

The pink color is derived from their food. Yes, the colors are not inherent and can change at any time if the feeding habit changes. The reddish-pink color is mainly from carotenoids. Flamingos eat crustaceans, planktons, and other algae that are enriched in beta-carotene. This in turn reflects in their feathers. If they do not get a sufficient amount of nutrition, automatically the color will turn white.

Mud is the fundamental material for flamingos’ nest building. Both male and female flamingos build the nest for incubating the egg. The nest exactly looks like the mini mud volcano.

There is a myth that the flamingo is the only animal in the world whose knees bend backward. This is certainly false and you will definitely get deceived when you look flamingo for the first time. No animal can walk with a backward knee structure. Flamingos have the same type of legs just like humans. The backward joint is actually the ankle joint, not the knee. You cannot see the knee as it is hidden inside the feathers.

There is another myth that flamingos cannot fly. Just because most of the flamingo photographs are taken in standing positions, it is not true that flamingos cannot fly. Flamingos fly to new locations for food and even migration is also observed. They generally travel at night.

Flamingos possess unique traits of sleeping while standing on one leg. They can stand for a long duration and fall asleep. Research suggests that standing in one leg is less tiring and it helps them to stay warm. Birds usually lose heat via limbs. By standing in a one-legged position, they can conserve some body heat. Interesting, right?

Flamboyance is the term used to define a group of flamingos. Just like the term, a group of flamingos really look flamboyant.

There are only six species of flamingos in the world. They are Greater, Lesser, James, Andean, Chilean and Caribbean flamingos. The greater variety is the largest and tallest among all. They are observed in Africa, Europe, and Asia. However, James, Andean and Chilean varieties are only observed in South America. The lesser variety is the smallest in size and largest in quantity around the World.

Flamingos lay only one egg annually. If any damage happens to the egg, they don’t lay another egg. So, it takes several years for flamingo population growth. The average lifespan of the flamingo is around 60 years. The longest living flamingo (83 years) died in an Australian zoo in 2014. The chicks are grey-colored during birth. As the flamingo population is at a stable phase, they are recognized as “least concern” from the conservation perspective.

The last one, the Bahama country acknowledges flamingo as their national bird.

Aren’t those facts about flamingos interesting?

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