Blog Archive: September 2018

Birdorable Greater Flamingo

Fun Coloring Pages for Flamingo Week

September 22nd, 2018 in Coloring Pages, Flamingos, Free Downloads No comments

Flamingos are known for being pink. To wrap up our first-ever Flamingo Week, we're sharing a couple of fun coloring pages featuring these iconic birds. Have fun coloring in these cartoon birds with different shades: carnation; blush; mauvelous; primrose; salmon; coral; fuschia; or roseate.



Direct link to coloring pages:

All of our coloring pages are free to download. Find more coloring pages for other species on our free coloring page downloads. And be sure to check out the color schemes for these and all of our birds by visiting the Meet the Birds section of our site.

Have you used our coloring pages at home, in your classroom, or at an event? We’d love to hear about it! Send us photos of the pages in action, or the final result – we may showcase them on our blog!

Birdorable American Flamingo

Flamingo Extreme Facts & Oddities

September 21st, 2018 in Avian Extreme, Flamingos, Fun Facts No comments
Birdorable Plastic Yard Flamingos

Flamingo Week continues today with some interesting flamingo extremes and odd facts about this family of pink birds.

Extremely Social Birds

Flamingos live in colonies that may number thousands of individuals. Breeding is also colonial, with birds typically separating into smaller groups of 7-25 pairs. Breeding follows synchronized dancing displays whicih are performed by both male and female birds.

The range of the James's, Chilean, and Andean Flamingo overlap in some areas. These social birds of different species will live in colonies together and even share nesting sites.

Popular In Plastic

In the United States, plastic pink flamingos are a famous kitschy lawn ornament. The decorations were first designed for the U.S. market in 1957. While some homeowners associations ban the plastic pinkies, the city of Madison, Wisconsin designated the plastic flamingo as the city's official bird in 2009.

Unique Feeding Adaptations

Flamingos are omnivores. They filter-feed on brine shrimp, blue-green algea, small insects, mollusks, and other small aquatic animals. Flamingo bills have a unique shape designed to filter feed, separating mud and silt from their food. The bill is used to filter in an upside-down position.

Another special filtering anatomical adaptation flamingos have is lamellae, hairy structures that line their beaks and tongues. Their long legs allow them to stand in water of varying depths, and their webbed feet are used to stir up silt in their search for food items.

Close-up of flamingo's lamellae
Photo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Pink Milk?

Both male and female parent flamingos feed their young chicks a sort of crop "milk", a fat and protein-rich substance produced in upper digestive tract glands and expelled through the beak. This milk is not actually pink. It is similar to the pigeon milk fed to squabs by parent birds in the pigeon and dove family.

Old Flamingos

A Greater Flamingo resident at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia was believed to be at least 83 years old at the time of its death in 2014. That is considerably older than the known longevity record for a wild Greater Flamingo, which was at least 27 years and 6 months, recorded via a rediscovered living banded bird in France.

The longevity record for a wild American Flamingo is just over 13 years, determined via a banding program.

The Most Endangered Flamingo

The Andean Flamingo is considered to be Vulnerable to Extinction. A rapid population decline occured during the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, reducing the global number of wild birds to less than 35,000. Today the population is considered to be stable.

The Most Abundant Flamingo

The Lesser Flamingo is the most abundant species of flamingo, yet it is considered to be Near Threatened due to threats including breeding site degredation.

Height Extremes

While all flamingos are considered to be relatively tall birds, the tallest of the bunch is the aptly named Greater Flamingo, reaching the greatest height at up to 59 inches tall (approximately 150 cm). The smallest is the also aptly named Lesser Flamingo, which may reach only 25 to 35 inches in height (approximately 63 to 89 cm).

Birdorable American Flamingo

Baby Birdorable: Flamingo Week Edition

September 20th, 2018 in Baby Birds, Flamingos 1 comment

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the American Flamingo and Greater Flamingo.

The six species of flamingo have similar nesting habits. They all breed in colonies. Mating rituals involve synchronized dancing. The nest is a pillar or mound of mud. A single chalky-white egg is laid per nesting attempt. Chicks, grey when first hatched, are fed a protein- and fat-rich diet of crop milk by both parents. Baby flamingos leave the nest around 7-12 days after hatching. Young birds gather in a group, called a creche, to evade predation as they grow.

Flamingos do well in captivity and breed if colony conditions are favorable, which include number of birds of breeding age and ratio of males to females. All of the example baby flamingo photos shared below were taken in zoological parks.

American Flamingo Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Charles Barilleaux (CC BY 2.0)
American Flamingo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
American Flamingo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
American Flamingo by Heather Paul (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Greater Flamingo by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
American Flamingo by frank wouters (CC BY 2.0)
American Flamingo by frank wouters (CC BY 2.0)
American Flamingo by Alonso Inostrosa Psijas (CC BY-SA 2.0)
American Flamingo by Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Birdorable Greater Flamingo

Flamingos in the News

September 19th, 2018 in Flamingos, In the News No comments
Flamingo News

Because of their large size and flashy colors, flamingos capture the imagination of bird lovers and wildlife observers. And because some of the species in this family are facing threats to their survival, flamingos are often featured in the news. Here are some stories featuring these big pink beauties in the past few months.

Florence Forces Flamboyance of Flamingos Inside at Riverbanks Zoo

WISTV – September 13, 2018
A zoo in the path of Hurricane Florence prepares for the coming storm by moving flamingos to indoor enclosures for safety. See video of the pink birds as they get ready to hunker down at the Columbia, South Carolina zoo.

Study Reveals Night-Time Habits of Captive Flamingos

EurekAlert – September 7, 2018
Learn about how flamingos in zoos spend their time after visitors have gone for the day in this scientific study press release.

Amid Europe’s Heat Wave, Rare Flamingos Lay First Eggs in 15 Years

The New York Times – August 11, 2018
For the first time in 15 years, Andean Flamingos are breeding in a wildlife reserve in Britain. Read about the work the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is Slimbridge is doing to help endangered species of flamingo.

Flamingo Spotted in Texas, 13 Years After Escaping Kansas Zoo

LiveScience – June 28, 2018
A Greater Flamingo that escaped a Kansas zoo in 2005 is living life as a free bird in Texas. Read about the Old World flamingo's life in the New World.

The Bahamas Are Filled With Flamingos Once Again

Audubon.org – Spring 2018
Read about the comeback of the American Flamingo in the Bahamas, in part thanks to the preservation of habitat in Great Inagua National Park. This article includes some fabulous photographs of the species in wild habitats.

Record Number of Flamingo Chicks Hatch in Spain

Al Jazeera – August 16, 2018
It's another flamingo baby boom! Learn about how flamingos are doing in Spain.

Birdorable American Flamingo

T-Shirt Tuesday: Flamingo Edition

September 18th, 2018 in Flamingos, T-Shirt Tuesday No comments

It's Flamingo Week! For T-Shirt Tuesday, we're highlighting some new designs featuring our cartoon flamingos.

First up is our brand new I Love Flamingos t-shirt, featuring a cartoon American Flamingo standing where the heart or word love should be.

Birdorable I Love Flamingos Ladies T-Shirt

Next up is another shirt featuring the American Flamingo. This species is the official bird of the Bahamas.

American Flamingo National Bird of Bahamas T-Shirt

Finally, Flamboyance made its debut a few months ago. This shirt features all of the flamingo species in the world in a mixed flock. The collective noun for flamingo is -- you guessed it -- Flamboyance.

Birdorable Flamboyance Girls T-Shirt

Also available on Amazon

The above t-shirt designs are also available from our store on Amazon:

Birdorable Greater Flamingo

Flamingo FAQs

September 17th, 2018 in Flamingos, Fun Facts No comments

We're celebrating flamingos this week! Let's learn about these pink beauties -- here are some frequently asked questions about flamingos.

Why do flamingos stand on one leg?
The true reason that flamingos often stand one leg has long been debated. One popular theory is that a bird can conserve body temperature by tucking one leg into its feathers while standing in water, which may pull heat away from the body. Another theory has to do with the fact that flamingos are able to "shut down" half of their brain so they can both rest and remain vigilant for predators at the same time. The tucked-in leg is a kind of natural reaction to this state of partial sleep.

Birdorable Flamingo Sleeping on One Leg

Why are flamingos pink?
Flamingos hatch out of the egg grey, not pink. As they grow, they develop a pink plumage which is the result of natural pink pigments found in the food they eat. The pink or reddish plumage comes from carotenoids in the diet of both animals and plant plankton. The brightness of a bird's plumage relates to diet and the ratio of algae (darker/more pink plumage) consumed compared to small animals (more pale plumage).

Where do flamingos live?
Of the six flamingo species, 4 live in the New World and 2 are found in the Old World.

The American Flamingo is the only species naturally occurring in North America. They are mostly found in the Caribbean, Central America, and along the northeastern coast of South America. There is a population on the Galapagos as well.

Chilean Flamigos are found along the western side of much of South America. Andean and James's Flamingos have a smaller range near the western coast along the Andes mountains.

Of the Old World flamingos, the Lesser is found in coastal and wetland habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, with a separate population in western India. The Greater Flamingo is found around sub-Saharan Africa as well as in coastal habitats in parts of the Middle East, southwestern Asia, and southern Europe.

World range map of Flamingo species around the world

What is the meaning of the name "flamingo"?
The word flamingo is derived from the Portuguese flamengo or the Spanish flamenco, which means "flame-colored". The origin of the word comes from the old idea that Flemish people had a ruddy or reddish complexion.

Do flamingos migrate?
Most flamingo species will migrate short distances during the year depending on availability of food and conditions of feeding grounds. Flooded habitat may be too deep for feeding; drought conditions may cause flamingos to move to a more favorable location for a season or longer.

How can you tell the different flamingo species apart?
Flamingos all have the same general body shape, unique beak formation, long legs, and pink or pinkish plumage. How can you tell them apart? Pay attention to their size, and the color of the bill and the legs. Here are some simple tips.

  • The Andean Flamingo is the only species with yellow legs.
  • The Chilean Flamingo has grey legs with pink "knees" and feet.
  • James's Flamingo has a mostly yellow bill, distinguished from the Andean by leg color (pink versus yellow).
  • The Lesser Flamingo is the only species to have a mostly black bill.
  • The Greater Flamingo is the largest of the bunch and has the most pink bill.
  • That leaves the American Flamingo, typically the darkest species, with its pink color sometimes appearing salmon.
Birdorable Flamingos of the World

Did you know all of these Flamingo FAQs? Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about these birds as Flamingo Week continues on Birdorable!