Beauty of the Greater Flamingo

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | March 31, 2010 | Comment Now

Greater flamingoes are pink beauties found in warm coastal regions of most continents. They prefer environments such as estuaries and alkaline or saline lakes. Greater flamingoes are surprisingly fluid swimmers when you take into account their appearance. They thrive in mud flats where they eat and breed.

It is possible that the greater flamingo is the only tall, pink bird in a given location. Their necks are long and curved. Their bills have a characteristic black tip with a sharp bend. The shape of the bill helps them to feed on small organisms, including plankton, fish, and larvae of flies.

Greater flamingoes utilize their long legs and webbed feet to move in the muddy flats and shallow water. Often, they bury their bills to take in mud and water containing delicious prey. The bill of the greater flamingo has a structure resembling a filter. This helps to remove food from the water before it is finally expelled.

The pink color of the flamingo can be attributed to shrimp-like crustaceans. Their color does pale in captivity, and their diet needs to be supplemented.

Greater flamingoes live in groups known as flocks or colonies. They feel safer in the company of other flamingoes. While they bend their heads in search of prey, they are most vulnerable. Greater flamingoes tend to breed in groups. After the completion of mating, the pair of flamingoes takes turn to incubate the eggs. Flamingoes are born gray and white and need a couple of years to turn pink. Flamingoes will not breed when wetlands and pools run dry or if there is a scarcity of food.

Certain populations of flamingoes are migrants. The greater flamingo lays a single egg on a mud ground. Besides the pink plumage, the wing coverts are red while the primary and secondary feathers are black.

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