Flamingos are large water birds who live near lagoons or lakes and have long necks, stick-like legs and pink to coral-reddish feathers. Flamingos are pink because the algae they eat are loaded with beta carotene, an organic chemical that contains a reddish-orange pigment. If a flamingo were to stop eating foods with this ingredient, its new feathers would grow in much paler and the reddish feathers would eventually molt away.
Groups of flamingos are called colonies or flocks. The colony works together to protect each other from predators and to take care of the young. Flamingos are monogamous, meaning they stay with their mate for life. All the flamingos in a group will mate at the same time so their chicks will hatch together. Baby flamingos are gray or white and will turn pink within the first couple years of life.
It isn’t really known why flamingos tend to stand on one foot, but it is believed that by keeping one foot out of the cold water they stay warmer. It also seems to be a comfortable resting position for them. Flamingos live 20 to 30 years in the wild or up to 50 years in a zoo.
Photo taken at the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Color of your choice (Orange/Coral/Pink)