The flamingo is one of the most beautiful birds in the world and also one of the strangest. If you’re lucky enough to see them in person, you will have a beautiful memory of these impressive colorful birds.
Flamingos are part of the order Phoenicopteriformes, although some usually include them in Ciconiiformes. Flamingos have four species, two of which are found in America and the other two on the European and African continents.
Flamingos can measure up to 120 cm long, reaching a wingspan of 140 cm. Its head is small, fusiform, and appears larger due to its huge, semi-inclined beak. Its beak has lateral cannulas that serve as a filter so that the bird can get its natural food, zooplankton, and phytoplankton. Their neck is long and they can control it at will, which allows them to perform very elegant postures.
Flamingos can measure up to 120 cm long, reaching a wingspan of 140 cm. Its head is small, fusiform, and appears larger due to its huge, semi-inclined beak.
This beak has lateral cannulas that serve as a filter so that the bird can get its natural food: Zooplankton and phytoplankton. Their neck is long and they can control it at will, which allows them to perform very elegant postures
One of the main features of a flamingo is its long, thin, reddish legs, which end in three front fingers. They are joined by an interdigital membrane and a posterior finger. The appearance is almost identical in both sexes, so it is difficult to distinguish them at first sight. Their wings, always pink, have black edges, which makes them pretty to look at.
Flamingos are very sociable animals. In fact, it is the most sociable bird species that exist. All their activities of reproduction, defense, food search, and other tasks are carried out in groups.
They usually live near large lagoons, rivers, sea mouths, or estuaries, where they can easily get food. Colonies can be of up to 500 members or more. Interestingly, although they live in very large groups, small groups can also form in the colony.
A very curious aspect of flamingos’ behavior is that adults are away from the young during the day. The little ones form their own group, but not far from the adults, so there won’t be a nuisance while they are in search of food, learning from each other how to survive.
When they live in captivity, their behavior does not change much, as they form groups that do not exceed 350 members.
While other birds can be very territorial and define the terrain that other species can cross, the flamingos usually allow the coexistence with other species, showing how sociable they are. Violent flamingos that threaten other birds are rare.
Observing the behavior of flamingos can be quite fun, as they use different gestures to communicate with each other.
The flag of the chief is one of the best known, in which the colony’s chief stretches his neck back, raises it, and then turns it from side to side to demonstrate its primate behavior.
Another rather curious gesture that is quite similar to what people do is the wave greeting, which is a friendly way of interaction between them and also allows us to see the wonderful colors of their feathers. The march is another common behavior of them.
When threatened by a predator or a person in a boat, the herd first moves sideways and then rises into the air. It is true, acceleration is difficult. At about five meters, the bird passes through shallow water, beating its wings and, already hovering, takes a few more steps along the surface of the water, and takes off.
Flamingoes are so preoccupied with the process of finding and eating food that they don’t seem to care about anything else in the world. They are not aggressive, they are conservative in their behavior, and they do not change their habits throughout their lives.
These birds treat people with extreme caution and despite the fact that many rivers and lakes have dried up, they try to settle away from the places where people live. After all, humans are the greatest enemies of these feathered beauties. Many rich people like to delight themselves with their meat and eggs, as well as to use their bright feathers to decorate their spaces.
When a herd of flamingos feeds or rests, individual birds remain alert, allowing the entire herd to avoid danger in time. Flamingos suffer to a greater extent not from predators, but from climate vicissitudes, like droughts, floods, and the unpredictable hydro regime of the reservoirs.
Sometimes, flamingos can be very aggressive toward other birds and even toward humans.
Regarding some isolated situations, where a flamingo gets aggressive, it is not very likely for it to bite other animals or humans. If they feel threatened, they might use their strong beaks to peck. They also have hooked beaks and sharp claws with which they can fight, but they won’t attack humans unless they feel a real danger. If you happen to be in such a situation, move away quietly and don’t provoke it.
The nature of these birds is peaceful, they rarely fight each other. Scientists have found that flamingos with intense pink plumage are also the most aggressive when it comes to food. New research from the University of Exeter also suggests that bright pink plumage is an indicator of health in smaller flamingos.
A flamingo with good health and proper nutrition, as demonstrated by its colorful plumage, will have more time and energy to be aggressive and dominant during food searching.
They noticed that flamingos push each other while trying to reach food and that the intensely colored birds behave more aggressively than those with more open plumage. However, in the case of the feeding pool located outside, the flamingos analyzed had less aggressive behavior than indoors.
The researchers found no difference between males and females in feeding rates or aggression.
The flamingo bird has a very long life span. The free birds in their natural habitat are able to live up to the age of 70, making it one of the oldest recorded ages in the world of birds. Their most common predators are vultures and baboons.
Although it is an impressive animal that many people would like to have in their garden and show in a pond, it is impossible to keep one of these animals.
For start, the law forbids having a flamingo as a domestic bird. Secondly, it takes a lot of land and expenses to provide everything a flamingo might need to survive.
Finally, it is a bird that requires very specific care, to which not everyone has access, and it is impossible to domesticate it.
The flamingos were worshiped in ancient Egypt as sacred birds. In ancient Rome, flamingos were considered a valuable delicacy. South American Indians hunted flamingos for their fat because they believed it could cure tuberculosis.
At the present time, the number of these beautiful and graceful birds is decreasing due to the drying of water associated with climate warming and recklessness, as vigorous human activity destroys their nesting places. Many birds die due to the increased concentration of harmful substances in natural reservoirs. In addition, poaching also leads to a reduction in the number of flamingos.
Flamingos are listed as endangered species in the Red Books of many countries, including the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of nature.
I would like to hope that humanity will be able to prevent the extinction of these unique beautiful birds because seven valuable species of flamingos have already disappeared off the face of the Earth.
If we take into account all the things mentioned, flamingos are not particularly aggressive, especially from distance.