Pink flamingos like to gather in large, noisy groups. Although flamingo flocks in the Americas can be sizable, they are not as remarkable as those of Lesser Flamingos in Africa and India. In these places, flocks of Lesser Flamingos can sometimes have thousands of birds.
We call these groups of flamingos “Flamboyance,” which is a word that means showing off, and it’s quite fitting for these large gatherings of bright pink flamingos.
Flamingos are unique and colorful birds that don’t resemble any other bird in the animal kingdom. They have long, skinny legs and gracefully curved necks, and they walk through shallow waters while feeding on brine shrimp, which gives them their characteristic pink hue.
Apart from brine shrimp, flamingos also eat blue-green algae and small creatures like insects and crustaceans. They stir up the muddy water and turn their heads upside-down to filter the muddy water using special hairs in their distinct beaks.
One interesting thing about flamingos is that they often stand on just one leg instead of two. Studies have shown that standing on one leg requires almost no energy, making it an efficient way for them to conserve energy when they need to stand for long periods.
There are other words used to describe groups of flamingos, too.
What do you call a group of baby flamingos?
Depending on their age, young flamingos are usually called chicks, hatchlings, or juveniles, or they are part of what’s called a “creche of flamingos.” This last term refers to when parents raise a single chick and then introduce it into a group that is watched over and supervised by a few adult flamingos during the day. However, the chick returns to its parents at night and during feeding times, somewhat like human infants attending a creche or kindergarten.
Why do flamingos gather in such large groups?
The idea of “safety in numbers” applies well to flamingos. They can raise their young more successfully when they are in large colonies. Female flamingos lay just one egg per year, and in each colony, all the eggs are laid at the same time. This way, they hatch together, and the young birds grow up together.
Some interesting facts about flamingos
Flamingos are easy to recognize with their long necks and legs, and they are known for their distinctive white, crimson, and pink feathers, which come from the pigments in their food. They primarily eat plankton, tiny aquatic creatures, and algae. In most flamingo species, their primary and secondary flight feathers are black, creating a striking contrast with the rest of their plumage when they’re flying.
All flamingos have large, downward-curving bills with black tips. They use this unique bill to filter food from just below the surface of stagnant or salty water and mud. They flip their heads upside down and filter the water through comb-like structures inside their bills, using their strong tongues to help.
Adult flamingos feed their young with a bright pink milky substance produced in their crop, which is also known as the throat.
Of the six flamingo species, the Chilean, Andean, and James’s Flamingo are native to the Andes and the southwest of South America. The American Flamingo can be found in the Caribbean, the Galapagos Islands, and along the north coast of South America. This species has the deepest pink plumage of all flamingos.
The Lesser and Greater Flamingos are primarily located in South Africa and East Africa. The Lesser Flamingo is also found in small numbers along the West African coastline, particularly in Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea. Some Greater Flamingos migrate to India and parts of the Middle East. You can also find flamingos in limited numbers along the coasts of southern Europe and Turkey.
Do Flamingos Gather in Groups?
Yes, flamingos form groups mainly for safety. While adult flamingos are usually not in danger from predators, baby flamingos can be hunted by animals like coyotes, foxes, eagles, and other birds of prey. Being in these groups provides protection for the young chicks.
When flamingos gather in flocks, especially in places with limited nesting space, it increases their chances of successfully raising their young. Several adult flamingos take care of juvenile flamingos from various parents. This collective effort in looking after the young ones offers more protection.
What is a Pair of Flamingos Called?
Many flamingos stay together as couples for their entire lives. They are monogamous and continue to mate as long as they can reproduce, often for over thirty years. In large flocks with thousands of individuals, flamingos may change their mating partners from one season to the next.
Pairs of flamingos don’t have a special name because they are usually seen as part of a larger group. During the breeding season, all the pairs build nests together instead of separating into different areas.
Flamingos briefly court to initiate the mating season because they all breed at the same time. Males and females collaborate to construct their nests out of mud, although they often prefer to take over nests built by another pair. Flamingos are protective of their nests while incubating their eggs.
What is a Group of Baby Flamingos Called?
Flamingos usually lay just one egg each breeding season, and all the pairs lay their eggs at the same time. Both male and female flamingos take turns incubating the eggs for about a month until they hatch.
Within five days of hatching, the baby flamingos leave their nests and gather in groups until it’s time to feed, at which point they return to their parents.
A baby flamingo can be called a “flaminglet,” but other names for baby flamingos include chicks, juveniles, and hatchlings.
When the young flamingos leave their nests and gather together, they are looked after by a group of adult flamingos.
These groups of young flamingos are often called a “creche,” and sometimes they are referred to as a “nursery.”
Flamingos are known for their loud, raucous calls rather than melodious sounds. Each flamingo has a unique vocal pattern, which helps parents identify their own offspring. When it’s time to eat, the juveniles leave the nursery and call out to their parents to locate them.
Baby flamingos are fed a substance called “crop milk” produced by both parents. It’s a red, nutrient-rich liquid crucial for the young flamingos’ growth. While adult flamingos feed their babies, they lose some of their pink color.
Crop milk isn’t well understood, but it’s produced by other birds too, such as male and female pigeons and male emperor penguins. Studies have shown that pigeon crop milk is similar to mammalian milk, containing protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Do Flamingos Migrate?
Many flamingo populations move throughout the year, but scientists don’t always classify these movements as migrations; instead, they are considered more nomadic. The reasons for these movements depend on where the birds live.
Flamingos that nest in temperate regions may migrate when the weather cools during winter. They move to warmer areas with sufficient food. Flamingos in places with distinct wet and dry seasons, like Africa, migrate to follow the rains.
Some flamingos inhabit warm regions with year-round food availability, and these populations migrate only short distances, if at all. For instance, Caribbean flamingos might move a short distance to Cuba.
Flamingos are ancient birds, dating back millions of years to the Eocene period. They have longer lifespans compared to many other bird species, with some individuals living for several decades. The oldest recorded flamingo in captivity lived to be 83 years old.