American/Caribbean Flamingo

American/Caribbean Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber

Type of Animal:

Shallows of salt/brackish water, lakes, lagoons, mudflats, estuaries, mangroves, shallow wetlands, intertidal zones, brackish/saltwater marshes, coastlines

N South America, Galapagos Islands, Caribbean islands, Bahamas, S Florida, Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Caribbean coast of Central America, & coastal Texas. 

Tall large reddish-pink bird w/ pink-black beak, juveniles are lighter and/or grayer

Crustaceans, mollusks, insects, insect larvae, fish, algae, diatoms, small seeds, aquatic plant matter, worms

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & marine parks. Reintroductions into parts of their range.

Flocks range from 14 to as many as 10,000 birds. Colonial breeders w/ colonies ranging from 7 to as many as 5,000 birds.

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock/Colony/Flamboyance

Male: 6.2 lbs
Female: 4.9 lbs

1 month

Life Span:
20-35 years in wild, 40-50 years in captivity

Male: 4-5 ft
Female: 4-4.5 ft
Young: 2 ft

Body Length:
Male: 4-5 ft
Female: 4-4.5 ft
Young: 2 ft

Tail Length:
1 in, same for both sexes

Main predators of adults are crocodilians, felids, canids, raptors, raccoons, pigs, badgers, & large snakes. Gulls prey on chicks. Mink prey on chicks & juveniles.

Coloration comes from food it eats.

Bill acts as sieve in scooping up food.

Flocks often form large curving pink lines in flight.

Adult coloration & maturity reached around 2 years old.

Chicks gather in crèches a week after hatching, which are guarded by a few adults.

Chicks fledge at around 3-3.5 months but stay w/ parents for longer.

Pairs lay 1-2 eggs per clutch.

Make honking call.

These birds disappeared from state of Florida around 1900 but reappeared around 1925 due to introductions derived from captive-bred birds. They’ve also flown in from other parts of range.

Nests are mud mounds about a foot high.

During courtship, they march, stretch their heads, & do wing salutes, often synchronously.

They run a few steps into wind to take flight. 

Often stand on one leg to cut heat loss.

Fun Fact(s):
Hurricane Idalia in late August 2023 displaced some flamingos from Yucatan Peninsula, leading to increase of flamingos in Florida as well as sightings throughout E US as far N as Ohio & Pennsylvania.

These birds iconic symbol of state of Florida.

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