Posted on Aug 15, 2021 87
Flamingo birds are not only pink, although this species is famous all over the world for its bright plumage. They lead a lifestyle inextricably linked with water, like herons and some storks. Unfortunately, some flamingo species are on the verge of extinction in the modern world, because the continuously expanding human civilization displaces them from their usual habitats.
Facts about flamingos
- Standing on one leg requires absolutely no effort on their part. By pressing the second leg to the belly, these birds reduce heat loss from the wind, which noticeably “cools down” their limbs, which are not protected by feathers.
- In East Africa, flamingos are grouped in gigantic flocks that can number over a million specimens. They are the largest flocks of birds on the planet.
- Flamingos can even cope with extreme natural conditions in which few other species survive. For example, they are found near very salty lakes. It is conditioned by the presence of a large population of crustaceans in very salty lakes, where fish do not live because of high salinity. Crustaceans are the major food of flamingo. Flamingos can also be found on high-mountainous lakes. In addition, they can tolerate enormous temperature changes.
- While eating, flamingos dip their head under the water, draw water in with their beak, sifting through the nutritious food they eat, and the water comes out through the supraclavian. Tiny, hair-like filters help sift out the food and release the water.
- Ancestors of modern flamingos inhabited the Earth about 30 million years ago.
- The smallest of these birds grows to 70-80 cm and weighs 2-2.5 kg. And the largest reach 1.5 meters in height and weigh 3.5-4 kg.
- In fact, pink flamingos have rather pale plumage. Their Caribbean congeners visually look much brighter, their plumage is almost red.
- One research showed that the special organ-floater that supports the bird’s head allows it to feed by turning its head upside down and keeping it on the water surface.
- Flamingos are social birds that live in different sized groups. They gather in flocks when they fly from place to place, and they also prefer to stay in groups when they are on the ground.
- Eggs of some of their species are eaten by different peoples.
- These birds can fly, but they require a quick run to get off the ground. As they fly, they stretch their long necks and legs in one straight line.
- The distinctive pink color of flamingos depends on the food they eat. They eat algae and shrimp, which contain carotenoids, which turn into red pigments during digestion.
- Pink flamingos kept in European zoos are fed large quantities of carrots so that their plumage does not turn pale.
- These birds are not monogamous. They pair up during the mating season, but find other partners in the next season.
- Each time a female flamingo lays just one egg, which is carefully guarded and incubated.
- The average life span of flamingos is about 30 years. In the wild they live shorter, but not by much, as they have almost no natural enemies.
- These birds build their nests right on the ground, like herons. They usually surround them with walls 25-30 cm high to protect them from a possible rise in water level because of heavy rains. The building material is mud.
- Pink flamingo chicks that hatch from eggs have feathers of gray color. They turn pink later during the first two years of life.
- In the past, these birds were also found in Australia, but they became extinct there long ago. In Antarctica, too, they are not.
- Flamingos are found in the area of the Caucasus. In particular, there are small populations of them in Azerbaijan.
- They prefer to sleep on trees, and these birds can’t fall from the tree while sleeping. When they fall asleep, their toes reflexively grip the branch very tightly, so they can be quiet.
- These birds can be real long-livers. The officially registered record of longevity is 84 years!
- Flamingos can be seen on the flag of such Caribbean country as the Bahamas.
- Male and female of these birds visually do not differ from each other in any way, so even experienced ornithologists cannot distinguish their sex in this way. Only the peculiarities of their behavior can show the sex of a particular bird.