American Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber

Length 3.9-4.6 ft (119.4-139.7 cm)
Wingspan 4.6-5.4 ft (140.0-165.0 cm)
Weight 4.9-6.2 lb (2.2-2.8 g)
Clutch Size 1
Chicks at birth Semi-precocial
IUCN Conservation Status Least Concern
Continents:NA, SA

The American Flamingos, also known as the Caribbean Flamingo, are one of six species of Flamingo found around the world. They are closely related to the Greater Flamingo and the Chilean Flamingo and was formerly considered conspecific with the Greater Flamingo. They are the largest and brightest colored of the Flamingos.

American Flamingos are mostly pink with red wing coverts and black primary and secondary flight feathers, Their bill is boomerang shaped and is pink and with a black tip. They are highly social birds and form large flocks numbering in the thousands. They also live long lives for birds and live between 20-30 years.

Flamingos can be seen in South Florida during the winter months. Some scientists believe the South Florida birds are escapees from captivity

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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 brine flies, shrimps and mollusks. The carotenoid pigments found in the crustaceans they eat gives them the bright pink plumage.

Courtship: Flamingos perform elaborate group displays before, during and after breeding. Sometimes they perform one display together, other times they will perform a sequence of displays. Display include stretching their neck and pointing they bill upward and swaying they head back and forth. Another includes a group of flamingos marching together in synchronized steps. The displays are accompanied by loud growling and grunting sounds.

Nesting: Like the Greater Flamingo, both parents build the mud nest by using their bills to move the mud to a height of about 12". The height is needed to keep the single egg laid dry and not too hot. Both parents incubate the egg 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: American Flamingos live in the shallow water ways of the Galapagos Islands, Southern Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, and Northern Caribbean.

Vocalization: They produce loud growling and grunting sounds during the breeding season.

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: Pink feet and legs.


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