Common name: American Flamingo
Scientific name: Phoenicopterus ruber
At the zoo: A flock of 19 American Flamingos and 1 Chilean Flamingo named Chili - Chili is slightly smaller and paler than the others
American flamingos are native to the Caribbean and surrounding coastlines and islands, and Galapagos.
Fish, insects, mollusks, aquatic worms, and crustaceans
Flamingo beaks have evolved to facilitate their specialized feeding method. They are lined with filters to strain food from the water.
Conservation Status: Least concern
The Flamingo's long legs and webbed feet stir up the water bringing potential food closer to the surface making it easier to access. The Flamingo's signature colour is a result of their diet. Just like eating too many carrots would turn you orange, their diet is rich in a mineral called beta-carotene, resulting in their distinct pink-orange colour.
American flamingos live in flocks that can number thousands of birds. During breeding season, they perform courtship displays as a group to ensure all members mate and lay their eggs at the same time.
The American flamingo has a large population size throughout its range, and their population trend is increasing, but they do face the threat of habitat destruction in coastal wetlands due to human disturbances.
Did you know that unlike other birds, Flamingos require a running start in order to fly? This momentum is needed because of their large size and tall, awkward shape.