Animal Class: Birds
Length: 46in., wingspan = 60in.
Weight: 5.5-7 lbs. (male greater than female)
Life Span: 50+ years
Diet: Wild: mollusks and invertebrates from mud and silt. Zoo: flamingo chow (require dietary care to maintain color)
Habitat: American flamingos live in shallow, salty lagoons and lakes of the West Indies, Yucatan, Galapagos Islands, and Florida. They prefer heavily salinated environments.
Flamingoes are tall, slender, long-legged, long-necked wading birds and are rose-pink with black-tipped wings. They have a pink bill with a black tip. Their bill differs from any other bird and the upper and lower mandibles are sharply bent in front of the nostrils. The flamingo’s long legs allow it to wade into deeper water than some other species of birds. Their webbed feet help support them when standing on soft mud. By standing on one leg and holding the other tucked up against the body, flamingos conserve body heat. The flamingo’s bill is also adapted to sift food out of the water, similar to a baleen whale. Flamingos feed by wading in shallow water swaying their bill rhythmically from side to side in the water, thereby filtering very small particles through their beaks and using their tongue to pump water into their beak. Resting or sleeping, they frequently stand on one leg with the other drawn up, neck draped over chest and back; head nestled under scapulars of back. Highly gregarious but wary and seldom allow close approach.