The flamingo is an iconic bird with its long legs and pink feathers. It’s a bird that has many people fascinated and it’s often replicated in many different art forms. These beautiful birds are the cause for much interest and many people will travel just to get a sight of them in their natural environment. If you’ve ever been curious about what these guys are all about then consider the following interesting facts about these gorgeous birds.
– Though they are categorized as a wading bird but they are closer in genetics to grebes.
– There are just a total of six species of flamingos and they are distributed across the globe from South America and the Caribbean to Europe, Middle East and Africa.
– Though flamingos don’t swim too often they are extremely strong fliers.
Baby flamingos, chicks, are hatched and they are grey or white. These fluffy little birds will also take nearly three years to become the vision we know today.
– The top speed a flamingo can reach when flying is about 35 miles per hour.
– Though the chicks will have to wait for their distinctive beak to curve and develop into what we see in the adults, it does start out long and strait.
– Flamingos generally feed for several hours a day, with their beak upside down they filter food out as they skim water.
– The flamingos mate for life and only lay an egg each year. If something happens to this egg they do not tend to replace them.
– A chick is fed from just crop milk for the first days of its life. It’s a high protein and fat food that is very different from mammal’s milk but also very ideal for baby chicks.
– The legs on an adult flamingo may be as long as 30-50 inches, which happens to be bigger than the bird’s body.
– The flamingo has a unique ‘knee’ that bends backward, which is actually its ankle. Its knee is much closer to the body and can’t easily be seen through the thick plumage. This is part of the reason their unique stand is so commonly seen.
– The flamingo prefers to live in large flocks as opposed to smaller groupings. Typical flocks will be a few dozen birds with some flocks of more than a million being recorded.
– In the wild, flamingos can live between twenty and thirty years while in captivity some have lived more than fifty years. Some of the reasons that may account for the differences are predators and disease in the wild.
– Estimates show that the Andean flamingo only has about 30,000 left in the wild, making it the most vulnerable species of flamingos. There are conservation efforts being undertaken to help save this bird.
– Flamingos travelling in a flock are called a colony.
– The biggest reasons flamingos are being reduced in numbers are habitat loss and their attractive plumage draws poachers. There are also numerous predators that get ahold of the birds. Finally, humans not only poach the bird for steal their eggs, but also to collect feathers.
– An interesting fact that most people are curious about is the lawn flamingo that is pink and plastic. Don Featherstone invented them and they started being used as lawn decorations around the year 1957.