Chilean Flamingo - Phoenicopterus chilensis

Length 3.6-4.2 ft (109.2-129.5 cm)
Wingspan 4.6-5.4 ft (139.7-165.1 cm)
Weight 5 lb (2268.0 g)
Clutch Size 1
Chicks at birth Semi-precocial
IUCN Conservation Status Near Threatened

The Chilean Flamingos is closely related to the Caribbean and Greater Flamingo and is one of six species of Flamingo found around the world. It is a "Near Threatened" species.

Chilean Flamingos are pink with black and dark pink flight feathers. They have long grey legs with pink ankles and pink webbed feet. The legs are what helps distinguish them from other flamingos. Their bill is curved downward and the top part is pink and the tip is black. They are highly social birds and form large flocks numbered in the thousands. Juveniles are gray.

Flamingos are social birds. They live in flocks of various sizes. Sometimes the flocks can number in the thousands.

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Diet: Flamingos have very long legs and they are able to search for food in deep water. Flamingos eat by using their feet to stir up mud and then sucking in this mud and water through their bill and out the sides. Briny plates in their mouth filter out aquatic insects, larvae algae, small fishes, crustacean. The carotenoid pigments found in the food they eat gives them the pink plumage.

Courtship: Chilean Flamingos reach sexual maturity at 6 years of age. Their usually have a different partner each mating season. During April and May, Chilean Flamingos have elaborate courtship rituals that consist of synchronized dancing, preening, neck stretching, honking which both sexes perform.

Nesting: Like the Greater Flamingo and Caribbean Flamingo, the nest is a simple mud mound.

The parents build the nest by using their feet and bill to scrape the mud into a mound. Both parents incubate the one egg laid and when it hatches, they both feed the chick crop milk that is produced by a gland in the parents' upper digestive tract. This bright red liquid is nutritionally similar to mammalian milk.

Habitat and Range: Chilean Flamingos live in muddy, shallow lakes in across most of South America. They are found from sea level to altitudes of 14,760 feet.

Vocalization: Includes deep honking sounds, grunting and howling.

Plumage/Molt: No alternate plumage.

Migration: Flamingos don't normally migrate, but will if their habitat degrades. For example, if their lake freezes or there is a drought. When they do migrate, they tend to migrate at night and fly at high altitudes. When they fly, Flamingos need space to take off. They need to run far enough to generate the lift need to take off.

Tongue/feet: Chilean Flamingos tongue is covered with bristle-like projects that help filter water and food particles through special structures in their bill.


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