Flamingos are those gorgeous pink birds with long necks and even longer legs that are often seen on nature videos. We're all likely to be familiar with them in appearance but how much do you really know about this stunning and vibrant creature found all over the world? There is far more to the flamingo than their neon pink hue and stick-like legs. There is a myriad of seemingly minute attributes that make this long-legged fowl a unique member of the animal kingdom, from their strange self-filtering beaks to their incredible balance. These are just a few of the fascinating facts about what keeps flamingos flying.
Flamingos don’t have teeth. They have hairlike structures in their beak that filter prey and silt scooped from the waters they feed in.
The flight feathers (which are the feathers found under the wings) of flamingos are black and can only be seen while flying.
Both the male and female partners participate in building the nest and sitting on the egg during incubation.
Flamingos generally travel in flocks consisting of several hundreds of birds.
There are only 6 species of flamingos. They are so similar, they can usually only be distinguished by experts.
The Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) is the smallest of the six species and is the species with the largest population.
Flamingos eat upside down. They have curved beaks designed to strain animals out of the mud and water they scoop, so they can eat.
Pigments in their prey, which is mostly shrimp and plankton, are what give flamingos their pink color.
Because they travel in large flocks, most of their mating dances, like the Flamingo Flamenco, are performed together.
Flamingos are extremely tall, and grow upwards of 4 to 5 feet, yet they weigh only 4 to 8 pounds.
Ancient Romans used to eat flamingo tongues, considering it a culinary delicacy.
Young flamingos are born gray and white, with straight beaks that curve over a number of years.
The yolks of flamingo eggs have been known to sometimes take on a pinkish hue.
Though there are many theories, the actual reason why flamingos stand on one foot is not yet known.
Flamingos tend to form strong pair bonds which can be lifelong. There have even been reports of same-sex pairs.
Flamingos protect their nests not only from predators but also other flamingos in the flock, as many find it easier to steal already built nests.
Flamingo chicks congregate in large numbers called “creches” to stay safe from predators.
Andean Miners were known to hunt flamingos, believing their fat could cure tuberculosis.
After hatching, both parents feed the chick “crop milk”, a special liquid baby food produced in their throats.
Flamingos are the national bird of the Bahamas.
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