The flamingo is a large colourful bird found both in South America and Africa. The flamingo is also found in the warmer areas of southern Europe and western Asia.
The flamingo stays in flocks of up to around 200 birds and feeds on fish in stiller rivers and lakes. The flamingo usually gets to about 30 years old although it is not uncommon for some flamingos to get to 50 years old.
Most species of flamingo are a pinky/orange colour, some however can be white, black or even blue. The colour of the flamingo comes from the flamingo eating a type of algae that then turns the flamingo into the bright pink bird that we are so familiar with.
The flamingo is often seen on the banks of the lake standing on one leg. The flamingo is actually sleeping when it is on one leg but the strange thing is, that only half of the flamingo is actually asleep – the half that contains the leg still standing remains active. The flamingo then swaps over so that the remaining side can get some rest and the side that was sleeping becomes active again.
There are six different species of flamingo found around the world. The different flamingo species are the greater flamingo which is the most widespread species of flamingo found in Africa, Southern Europe and Southern Asia. The lesser flamingo is the most numerous species of flamingo and is found in Africa and Northern India. The Chilean flamingo is a large species of flamingo that is found in South America. The James’s flamingo is a small and delicate species of flamingo that is found in the Andes mountains in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. The Andean flamingo is closely related to the James’s flamingo and is also found in the Andes mountains in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. The American flamingo is a large species of flamingo that is found in the Caribbean islands and the Galapagos islands.
Flamingos use their large, oddly shaped beaks to filter shrimp out of the water. The flamingo uses it’s strangely shaped upside-down beak to separate mud and food in the water. The mouth of the flamingo is covered in little hairs called lamellae which assist in the filtering of water and the flamingo also has a rough tongue which the flamingo also uses to help it to filter food out of the water.
Although flamingos only nest once a year, flamingo colonies are known to breed at any time of the year. A flamingo reaches sexual maturity (which means the flamingo is able to breed) when the flamingo is between 3 and 6 years old. Flamingos build their nests out of mud, stones and feathers and do so about 6 weeks before they lay their eggs. Flamingos tend to lay just one egg that hatches after a 30 day incubation period. Both the mother flamingo and the father flamingo are known to help to raise the flamingo chick.
Flamingos have relatively few predators in the wild but this is dependent on the area in which the flamingo inhabits. Human hunters, wild dogs and crocodiles are the main predators of the flamingo, along with eagles that prey upon the flamingo eggs and vulnerable flamingo chicks.