Flamingo – beautiful bird
Flamingos are tall, mostly pink birds with long legs. They fly and feed in large flocks of hundreds to even millions of birds. They are wading birds, this means they feed while standing or walking in shallow water.
These birds occur in tropical and temperate regions of Africa, Madagascar, India, southern Europe, Caribbean coasts, highlands of the Andes in South America, and on the Galapagos Islands.
Flamingos live in warm regions near lakes and bodies of water called lagoons.
There are five species of flamingo. The greater flamingo is also commonly kept in theme parks and zoos.
The Chilean flamingo is a smaller species, occurring from central Peru through the Andes to Tierra del Fuego.
The lesser flamingo breeds on alkaline lakes in East and South Africa, Madagascar, and northwestern India.
The Andean flamingo occurs above 2,500 m in the Andean highlands from Peru to Chile and northwestern Argentina.
Flamingos have a very long neck and long legs, with webbed toes on their feet. They have long, strong wings, and a short tail.
Flamingos eat algae, shrimp, snails, crabs, and mollusks.
These birds sleep while standing on one leg, the other leg folded up and stowed under the body, and the head laid over the back.
The nest of flamingos is placed on the top of a cone-shaped structure made of mud scooped up from shallow water using the bill. Both sexes incubate the one or two eggs. Young flamingos are born white, with soft, downy feathers and a straight bill.
Flamingos are very social and often live in large groups, called colonies.
They get their pink coloring from the carotenoid pigment in their food, which is the same pigment that makes carrots orange.
Ancient Egyptians believed that flamingos were the living representation of the god Ra. In the Americas, the Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped nature and paid a great deal of attention to these birds and often depicted flamingos in their art.
The flamingo is threatened on many fronts. Human collectors steal its eggs. The body fat of the bird has historically been used as a rub to treat rheumatism, a disease of the joints. People pollute and destroy its habitat.