Characteristics of the flamingo and its adaptation to the environment

The flamingo is one of the most exotic and beautiful birds on the planet. In this article we will be talking about the characteristics of the flamingo and its adaptation to the environment. This bird has a slender figure and its striking and beautiful plumage in different shades of pink, make it have an unparalleled beauty.

This beautiful bird belongs to the Phoenicopteridae family, genus neognatas. Many opinions have arisen as to whether or not it should be considered a relative of herons, geese and storks, due to the similarity found in its DNA, as well as in its pelvis and rib morphology.

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However, some scientists have catalogued the flamingo as a unique species in its type, due to the singular shape of its beak and the flexibility of its neck, a trait it has obtained due to evolution and changes in its diet, which have modified its entire organism to adapt it to the conditions of the environment.

Characteristics of the flamingo and its adaptation to the environment

Physical characteristics and feeding

We can say that this elegant bird is easily differentiated from the rest of the birds due to its pink plumage, although there are also white and red birds. They have very long legs, as well as a very flexible neck and a curved beak.

The pink color of their plumage is obtained through the carotenoid proteins found in their diet, which is based on plant and animal microplankton.

However, the common flamingos reach a meter and a half in length, being the largest of their species.

Flamingos feed on algae, crustaceans, plankton and shrimp. It therefore performs a filtering process, using its long, rough tongues with narrow filamentous structures, called lamellae, which are located at the edge of its jaws.

Characteristics of the flamingo and its adaptation to the environment

Its beak

The flamingo’s beak is curved and its neck is long which allows it to eat with its head upside down and submerged in the water. Its tongue and beak are also used to filter mollusks, algae and insects from the water, since its diet is based on small invertebrates and vegetables.

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Its plumage

Consequently we can easily notice that the plumage color varies in shades of pink, orange and red.These shades are due to the pigments in the products of their diet.

Characteristics of the flamingo and its adaptation to the environment


Next we can say that flamingos live in lakes and coastal regions. They make their cone-shaped nests with sand and mud about thirty centimeters high and sixty centimeters in diameter. Generally, they prefer salty waters, although they are seen at high altitudes in the Andes.

Flamingos almost always prefer to swim while eating and generally do so at night. This part of their body is of three shades: yellow at the base, pink in the middle, and black at the end.


Consequently flamingos lay one to two white eggs once a year, when they come to nest they do so in large colonies.

However, a few days after hatching, the chicks can fend for themselves, even run and swim, even though they are still being fed by their parents, they grind the food for later.

At eighty days old they can fly.

Flamingos breed until they are six years old.

The ritual is performed exclusively with members of their own species. Males perform courtship with marches and head turns to woo their desired mate.

The flamingo and his mating

This happens because the rain provides them with mud, stones and sticks, materials with which they build nests. They do this in about six weeks. During that time they stay together, waiting for the female deposits the eggs

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Both parents incubate until the young are born within a month. Contrary to popular belief, the chicks can be gray or white. Also, once they are three years old, their feathers turn pink.

Curiosities of the flamingo

Among other curious things about the flamingo is that they are clumsy on the ground, but they are great at flying, reaching speeds of up to fifty kilometers per hour.

Enemies of the flamingo

It is important to say that this quiet and fragile bird has some enemies to watch out for, among them we have. Predators, the wild pig. They also have other carnivores as predators, such as the cheetah, hyenas, jackals, among others.

Characteristics of the flamingo and its adaptation to the environment

There are six species of flamingos found in Asia, America, Africa and Europe, divided into Chilean or southern flamingoes, common flamingos of Africa, Asia and Europe and flamingos of the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America.

Flamingo a social bird

We can say that the flamingo is a very social bird. Because it interacts quite well with the other members of its colony.

One of the largest settlements is located in Africa, with more than one million flamingos, which can socialize and achieve in a beautiful way an incredible union a wonderful spectacle, worthy to admire. It is a necessity for flamingos to stay together.

The flamingos frequent certain spaces where they can find enough water, as well as mud for that reason they are always seen by the lakes, lagoons and rivers, also by some swamps.

I also invite you to read our article about the fascinating common bee-eater and its characteristics by clicking on the following link: common bee-eater.

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