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Flamingos are known for their bright and bold pink color, long necks, and stilt-like legs. Find out if flamingos fly and more with these flamingo facts for kids.
What is a Flamingo?
Flamingos are a type of wading bird. They are part of the Phoenicopteridae family of birds. The word flamingo comes from the Latin word flamenco meaning fire. It refers to their bright color.
There are 6 species of flamingos.
1. Lesser Flamingo – lives in Africa and India
2. Greater Flamingo – lives in Africa, Europe, and Asia
3. Chilean Flamingos- lives in South America
4. James’s Flamingo- lives in South America
5. Andean Flamingo- lives in South America
6. American Flamingo- Caribbean, Florida, Mexico, and Galapagos Islands
The Greater Flamingo is the largest flamingo and can be up to 5ft tall.
The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest flamingo and can be up to 3ft tall.
What do Flamingos Look Like?
Flamingos are a very recognizable species of bird. They are known for their bright pink feathers with black tips and long S-shaped necks. The color of a flamingo’s feathers comes from the carotenoids, a color pigment in their food. Flamingos have long skinny stilt-like legs. They are often seen standing on one foot while in the water.
A flamingo’s size depends on the species. The largest flamingo is the Greater Flamingo, it is between 3.6-4.9 feet tall and weighs 4-9 pounds. The Lesser flamingo is the smallest species and is between 2.6-3 feet tall and weighs 2-6 pounds.
Flamingos have webbed feet, that help them move fast across the water to gain speed to fly.
Where do Flamingos Live?
Flamingos live on many continents, They live in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. They also live in the Caribbean Islands. Although you can see flamingos in many zoos and animal preserves across the United States, Flamingos are only native to Florida.
Flamingos are social birds. They live in large groups called colonies. Colonies can have 1,000 flamingos living in them. Flamingos live in colonies to help avoid predators, increase food intake and help find nestling sites. Flamingo colonies are split into breeding groups of 15-50 birds.
Flamingo Facts for Kids
Flamingos are omnivores meaning they eat both plants and meat. They eat shrimp, small crustaceans, snails, algae, and fly larvae. Flamingos catch food by dipping their heads into the water, turning their bills upside down, and sucking up water. Then they filter out the water from the sides of their mouth and keep the food in.
Flamingos can be a reddish to pink color, sometimes orange.
They get their color from the food they eat. The shellfish and algae they eat contain carotenoids. The carotenoids make their feathers pink or orange.
Fun Fact- Carrots also contain a lot of carotenoids, which makes carrots orange. If you ate a diet of all carrots your skin would turn an orange-like color!
Flamingos like to stand on one leg. No one knows precisely why they like that. Some believe they stand on one leg to save energy and to conserve body heat.
Flamingos are social animals. A group of flamingos is called a flock.
Flamingos fly, it’s true! They fly in large flocks. Flamingos need a running start to fly. They can fly up to 35 miles per hour.
Flamingos build their nests out of the mud.
When a mother flamingo lays one egg at a time. Both the mother flamingo and father flamingo look after the egg until it hatches.
A flamingo egg hatches in about 30 days. A baby flamingo is called a chick.
Both male and female flamingos take care of the newborn chick. After the chick is five days old it will leave the nest joining the other young flamingos.
Chicks are born gray or white. They reach their full color by age 3.
You may ask yourself how do flamingos feed their babies? This is a good question. They make a liquid called crop milk in their body. Flamingos will spit up the crop milk and feed it to their baby.