Birds

American Flamingo

Phoenicopterus ruber ruber


Class Aves   American Flamingo
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Order Ciconiiformes
Distribution Central and South America, West Indies, Galapagos Islands
Central and South America, West Indies, Galapagos Islands
Habitat Coastal saline lagoons, saltpans and other brackish or saltwater shallows.
Conservation Status The total population of American Flamingos in 1972 is about 60,000. Loss of suitable habitat due to human interference has led to a decline in numbers in recent years. At present, there are only four regular breeding sites left. Fortunately they are reasonably secure.
Behaviour Flamingos have long necks and legs. They obtain their food by use of highly specialised bills which they hold upside down in the water and move from side to side to sieve out small particles of food. American Flamingo is the most brightly coloured of the flamingos. It is the only species which has red adult plumage all over the body. The adult male and adult female appear to be identical, but the female is smaller. All of the world's six kinds of flamingo are highly social in behaviour, both in the breeding season and at all other times of the year. They live in large flocks in thousands, or even more. Nests are in the form of conical mud-mounds built in close proximity by the parent birds. The single egg is incubated by both sexes for about 30 days. The chicks leave the nest-mount when about 10 days and join a "creche" minded by a few adults. Both parents continue to feed only their own chicks. Individual recognition between parents and chicks is made by voice.
Diet Larvae and chrysalids of Brine-flies, Brine-shrimps, molluses and algae
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