Facts About Flamingos

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There are six different species of flamingos. The Rosa flamingo or Caribbean flamingo is the only type of flamingo that lives naturally in North America. The most widespread type is the Greater flamingo, which is found in Africa and Southwestern Asia. Other species are the Chilean flamingo, Andean flamingo, Lesser flamingo, and James’s flamingo.

Fact 1. The word originates either from the Latin word for flame, flamma,  or the Spanish word ‘œflamenco’ meaning ‘œruddy complexioned’ with reference to the Flemish people who were ruddy complexioned.

Fact 2.  Flamingo chicks feed on red-colored milk known as crop milk. The chicks will stick their bills into their parent’s mouth to stimulate and release the milk. Both parents are involved in this feeding process.

Fact 3.  Andean miners kill flamingos as a cure for tuberculosis. During Roman times, flamingo tongues were considered a fine cuisine.

Fact 4.  Flamingos often rest on one leg in the shallows. This position is very comfortable for the bird as it greatly reduces the amount of body heat lost to the cool waters.

Fact 5. The color of the flamingo’s feathers is attributed to the diet composed of high beta carotene sourced from foods such as algae and shrimp.

Fact 6. Flamingos are monogamous birds that lay only a single egg each year. If that egg is lost or damaged, they do not typically lay a replacement.

Fact 7. Flamingos stretch from up to three feet to five feet tall. The Greater flamingo is the largest flamingo species and can measure up to five feet tall but only weighs a maximum of eight pounds. The Lesser flamingo is the smallest and can reach three feet tall.

Fact 8.  Flamingos are social animals and tend to flock in large numbers. There have been  records of  a million flamingo gatherings although the norm is normally twelve.

Fact 9. A flock of flamingos is called a stand or a flamboyance.

Fact 10. Don Featherstone of Massachusetts is the inventor of the pink, plastic, lawn flamingo which has been gracing lawns since 1957.

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