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Description of Flamingo

Eight kinds of flamingos make up the avian family Phoenicopteridae. Flamingos are beautiful water birds with long legs and luxuriant deep red, light red, pink, or white plumage. They inhabit Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the West Indies. European flamingos migrate to Africa in the winter. The birds usually live in tropical and temperate regions along oceans and lakes or in marshes. Flamingos are also found in the Andes mountains. It is thought that flamingos are pink to red because they eat varied amounts of blue-green algae and other organisms, which contain the substances that make carrots orange and tomatoes red. Flamingos also eat diatoms, shrimp, and small mollusks. There are four flamingo (Phoenicoparrus) species: the American and Caribbean, the Andean, the James', and the lesser flamingos. Several Phoenicoparrus species have subspecies. For example, American and Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) have three subspecies: greater (P. ruber roseus), Chilean (P. ruber chilensis), GalГЎpagos (P. ruber ruber) flamingos. Regrettably, few of these birds are seen in the United States, as feather hunters made them almost extinct.AChilean flamingo is a bit smaller than a greater flamingo. It is pink, with red streaks on its back, and nests in Andean mountain lakes and southern South American lowlands. Two smaller species, are the Andean (Phoenicoparrus andinus) and James' flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi). The smallest, most abundant species, numbering in the millions, is the lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) of Africa and India. It has a subspecies (Phoeniconaias minor jamesi).

Physical Characteristics of Flamingos

All flamingos have very long legs, webbed feet, and long, flexible necks. The long legs and webbed feet allow them to wade into fairly deep waters and stir up the muddy bottoms of lagoons and lakes, causing food to rise up closer to them. Their bills bend sharply about halfway from their ends. The upper mandible (beak half) is narrow and, when closed, fits tightly into the lower mandible. To feed, flamingos dip their heads into water upside down and scoop backward, taking in food-containing water. Then they press their mandibles together and push their tongues upward. As mandible edges have small ridges, the tongue pressure pushes water out and the strainerlike action retains the small animals and vegetation they feed on. Different species and subspecies are colored differently and have different sizes. Overall, adult flamingos attain heights and weights of 2.5 to 5.5 feet and weigh four to seven pounds, depending on species. Females are usually shorter and weigh less than males. Flamingo plumage is white, various pinks, or crimson red. Their legs, webbed feet, bills, and faces are red, pink, orange, or yellow.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Flamingo