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{{other uses}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{use dmy dates|date=April 2016}}{{Automatic taxobox| name = Flamingos!Image!! Species !! colspan="2"|Geographic location! (File:Greater Flamingo (19343377265).jpg|175px)|Greater flamingo(Phoenicopterus roseus)! (File:Lesser Flamingo RWD.jpg|175px)|Lesser flamingo(Phoenicoparrus minor)| Africa (e.g. Great Rift Valley) to NW India (most numerous flamingo).! (File:Chileflamingo 2010.JPG|120px)|Chilean flamingo(Phoenicopterus chilensis)! (File:James Flamingo.jpg|175px)|James's flamingo(Phoenicoparrus jamesi)| High Andes in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.! (File:Two andeanflamingo june2003 arp.jpg|175px)|Andean flamingo(Phoenicoparrus andinus)| High Andes in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.! (File:Greater flamingo galapagos.JPG|175px)|American flamingo(Phoenicopterus ruber)
25|0}}Late Oligocene – Recent| image = Flamingos Laguna Colorada.jpg| image_caption = James's flamingos (P. jamesi)| taxon = PhoenicopteridaeCharles Lucien Bonaparte>Bonaparte, 1831| subdivision_ranks = Species#Species>text| range_map = Flamingo range.png| range_map_caption = Global distribution of flamingos}}Flamingos or flamingoesBoth forms of the plural are attested, according to the Oxford English Dictionary {{IPAc-en|f|l|ə|'|m|ɪ|ŋ|ɡ|oʊ|z}} are a type of wading bird in the family Phoenicopteridae, the only bird family in the order Phoenicopteriformes. Four flamingo species are distributed throughout the Americas, including the Caribbean, and two species are native to Africa, Asia, and Europe.


File:Greaterflamingo-uenozoo2008.ogg|thumb|Captive greater flamingogreater flamingoThe name "flamingo" comes from Portuguese or Spanish flamengo, "flame-colored", in turn coming from Provençal flamenc from flama "flame" and Germanic-like suffix (wikt:-ing#English|-ing), with a possible influence of the Spanish ethnonym flamenco "Fleming" or "Flemish".The generic name phoenicopterus (from phoinikopteros), literally "blood red-feathered" has a similar etymology.{{OEtymD|flamingo}}

Taxonomy and systematics

Traditionally, the long-legged Ciconiiformes, probably a paraphyletic assemblage, have been considered the flamingos' closest relatives and the family was included in the order. Usually, the ibises and spoonbills of the Threskiornithidae were considered their closest relatives within this order. Earlier genetic studies, such as those of Charles Sibley and colleagues, also supported this relationship.WEB, Salzman, Eric, Sibley's Classification of Birds, Ornitologia e dintorni, December 1993,weblink 15 November 2009, Relationships to the waterfowl were considered as well,JOURNAL, 10.2307/1366077, Sibley, Charles G., Charles Sibley, Corbin, Kendall W., Haavie, Joan H., The Relationships of the Flamingos as Indicated by the Egg-White Proteins and Hemoglobins, Condor, 71, 2, 155–179, 1969,weblink 1366077, especially as flamingos are parasitized by feather lice of the genus Anaticola, which are otherwise exclusively found on ducks and geese.JOURNAL, Johnson, Kevin P., Kennedy, Martyn, McCracken, Kevin G., Reinterpreting the origins of flamingo lice: cospeciation or host-switching?, Biology Letters, 2, 2, 275–278, 2006, 17148381, 1618896, 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0427,weblink 31 October 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 March 2009, dmy-all, The peculiar presbyornithids were used to argue for a close relationship between flamingos, waterfowl, and waders.JOURNAL, Feduccia, Alan, Osteological evidence for shorebird affinities of the flamingos, Auk, 93, 3, 587, 1976,weblink 3 November 2009, A 2002 paper concluded they are waterfowl,JOURNAL, Kurochkin, E. N., Dyke, G. J., Karhu, A. A., 2002, A New Presbyornithid Bird (Aves, Anseriformes) from the Late Cretaceous of Southern Mongolia, American Museum Novitates, 3386, 2246/2875, 1–11, 10.1206/0003-0082(2002)3862.0.CO;2,weblink but a 2014 comprehensive study of bird orders found that flamingos and grebes are not waterfowl, but rather are part of Columbea along with doves, sandgrouse, and mesites.JOURNAL, Jarvis, E.D., etal, 2014, Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds, Science, 346, 6215, 1320–1331, 10.1126/science.1253451, 25504713, 4405904, 2014Sci...346.1320J,

Relationship with grebes

File:Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)- Breeding plumage W2 IMG 8770.jpg|thumb|right|Many molecular and morphological studies support a relationship between grebegrebeRecent molecular studies have suggested a relation with grebes,JOURNAL, Chubb, AL, 2004, New nuclear evidence for the oldest divergence among neognath birds: the phylogenetic utility of ZENK (i), Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 30, 1, 140–151, 10.1016/s1055-7903(03)00159-3, 15022765, JOURNAL, Ericson, Per G. P., December 2006, Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils, Biology Letters, 2, 4, 543–547, 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0523, 17148284,weblink Anderson, CL, Britton, T, Elzanowski, A, Johansson, US, Källersjö, M, Ohlson, JI, Parsons, TJ, Zuccon, D, 1834003, JOURNAL, Shannon J., Hackett, Rebecca T., Kimball, Sushma, Reddy, Rauri C. K., Bowie, Edward L., Braun, Michael J., Braun, Jena L., Chojnowski, W. Andrew, Cox, Kin-Lan Han, John, A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History, Science, 320, 5884, 1763–1768, 10.1126/science.1157704, 18583609, 27 June 2008, 2008Sci...320.1763H, while morphological evidence also strongly supports a relationship between flamingos and grebes. They hold at least 11 morphological traits in common, which are not found in other birds. Many of these characteristics have been previously identified on flamingos, but not on grebes.JOURNAL, 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2003.00094.x, Mayr, Gerald, Morphological evidence for sister group relationship between flamingos (Aves: Phoenicopteridae) and grebes (Podicipedidae), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 140, 2, 157–169, 2004,weblink 3 November 2009, The fossil palaelodids can be considered evolutionarily, and ecologically, intermediate between flamingos and grebes.JOURNAL, Mayr, Gerald, The contribution of fossils to the reconstruction of the higher-level phylogeny of birds, Species, Phylogeny and Evolution, 1098-660X, 3, 59–64, 2006,weblink 12 August 2009, For the grebe-flamingo clade, the taxon Mirandornithes ("miraculous birds" due to their extreme divergence and apomorphies) has been proposed. Alternatively, they could be placed in one order, with Phoenocopteriformes taking priority.


Living flamingos:WEB, John Boyd's website, Boyd, John, 2007, NEOAVES- COLUMBEA,weblink 30 December 2015, {hide}clade|style=font-size:100%;line-height:80%|1={{clade
|1=Phoenicopterus chilensis (Chilean flamingo)
|1=Phoenicopterus roseus (Greater flamingo)
|2=Phoenicopterus ruber (American flamingo)
|1=Phoenicoparrus minor (Lesser flamingo)
|1=Phoenicoparrus andinus (Andean flamingo)
|2=Phoenicoparrus jamesi (James's flamingo)


Six extant flamingo species are recognized by most sources, and were formerly placed in one genus (have common characteristics) – Phoenicopterus. As a result of a 2014 publication,JOURNAL, 10.1186/1471-2148-14-36, 24580860, 4016592, A multi-locus inference of the evolutionary diversification of extant flamingos (Phoenicopteridae), BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14, 1, 36, 2014, Torres, Chris R, Ogawa, Lisa M, Gillingham, Mark AF, Ferrari, Brittney, Van Tuinen, Marcel, the family was reclassified into two genera.Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). (2016). IOC World Bird List (v 6.3).{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:left"
Old World| Parts of Africa, S. Europe and S. and SW Asia (most widespread flamingo).
New World| Temperate S. South America.
Caribbean islands, Caribbean Mexico, southern Florida,Scientists: Florida flamingos are native to the state, The News-Press>News-Press, Chad Gillis, February 23, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2019. Belize, coastal Colombia, northern Brazil, Venezuela and Galápagos Islands.
(File:Phoenicopterus croizeti.JPG|thumb|P. croizeti fossil) Prehistoric species of flamingo:{{Citation needed|date=March 2013}}


Flamingos usually stand on one leg while the other is tucked beneath their bodies. The reason for this behaviour is not fully understood. One theory is that standing on one leg allows the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water.NEWS,weblink Why flamingoes stand on one leg, Walker, Matt, 13 August 2009, 9 December 2009, BBC News, However, the behaviour also takes place in warm water and is also observed in birds that do not typically stand in water. An alternative theory is that standing on one leg reduces the energy expenditure for producing muscular effort to stand and balance on one leg. A study on cadavers showed that the one-legged pose could be held without any muscle activity, while living flamingos demonstrate substantially less body sway in a one-legged posture.JOURNAL, Chang, Young-Hui, Ting, Lena H., 24 May 2017, Mechanical evidence that flamingos can support their body on one leg with little active muscular force, Biology Letters, 13, 5, 20160948, 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0948, 28539457, 5454233, As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom.JOURNAL, Bildstein, Keith L., Frederick, Peter C., Spalding, Marilyn G., November 1991, Feeding Patterns and Aggressive Behavior in Juvenile and Adult American Flamingos, The Condor, 93, 4, 10.2307/3247726, 916–925, 3247726, Flamingos are capable flyers, and flamingos in captivity often require wing clipping to prevent escape. A pair of African flamingos which had not yet had their wings clipped escaped from the Wichita, Kansas zoo in 2005. One was spotted in Texas 14 years later. It had been seen previously by birders in Texas, Wisconsin and Louisiana.Fugitive flamingo spotted in Texas 14 years after escaping a Kansas zoo during storm, Wichita Eagle, Kaitlyn Alanis, May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.(File:Flamingos in flight.jpg|thumb|Flamingos in flight at Rio Lagartos, Yucatán, Mexico)Young flamingos hatch with grayish-red plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta-carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly colored, thus a more desirable mate; a white or pale flamingo, however, is usually unhealthy or malnourished. Captive flamingos are a notable exception; they may turn a pale pink if they are not fed carotene at levels comparable to the wild.BOOK, American Zoo: A Sociological Safari, David, Grazian, 2015, Princeton, NJ, US, Princeton University Press, 35, 978-0-691-16435-9,weblink The greater flamingo is the tallest of the six different species of flamingos, standing at {{convert|3.9|to|4.7|ft}} with a weight up to {{convert|7.7|lb}}, and the shortest flamingo species (the lesser) has a height of {{convert|2.6|ft|1}} and weighs {{convert|5.5|lb}}. Flamingos can have a wingspan as small as {{convert|37|in|cm}} to as big as {{convert|59|in|cm}}.Bradford, Alina. 2014. Flamingo Facts: Food Turns Feathers Pink. September 18. Accessed March 2018.weblink{{clear left}}

Behavior and ecology


(File:Flamingo and offspring.jpg|thumb|American flamingo and offspring: The arcuate (curved) bill is well adapted to bottom scooping.)Flamingos filter-feed on brine shrimp and blue-green algae as well as insect larvae, small insects, mollusks and crustaceans making them omnivores. Their bills are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae, which line the mandibles, and the large, rough-surfaced tongue. The pink or reddish color of flamingos comes from carotenoids in their diet of animal and plant plankton. American flamingos are a brighter red color because of the beta carotene availability in their food while the lesser flamingos are a paler pink due to ingesting a smaller amount of this pigment. These carotenoids are broken down into pigments by liver enzymes.JOURNAL, Hill, G. E., Montgomerie, R., Inouye, C. Y., Dale, J., Influence of Dietary Carotenoids on Plasma and Plumage Colour in the House Finch: Intra- and Intersexual Variation, June 1994, Functional Ecology, 8, 3, 343–350, 10.2307/2389827, 2389827, The source of this varies by species, and affects the color saturation. Flamingos whose sole diet is blue-green algae are darker than those that get it second-hand by eating animals that have digested blue-green algae).WEB, NATURE: Fire Bird – Flamingo Facts,,weblink 2013-03-30,


(File:Chilean Flamingo Feeding.jpg|thumb|Chilean flamingo feeding its young)File:Large number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru.jpg|thumb|Colony of flamingos at Lake NakuruLake NakuruFlamingos are very social birds; they live in colonies whose population can number in the thousands. These large colonies are believed to serve three purposes for the flamingos: avoiding predators, maximizing food intake, and using scarcely suitable nesting sites more efficiently.JOURNAL, Pickett, C., Stevens, E. F., 1994, Managing the Social Environments of Flamingos for Reproductive Success, Zoo Biology, 13, 5, 501–507, 10.1002/zoo.1430130512, Before breeding, flamingo colonies split into breeding groups of about 15 to 50 birds. Both males and females in these groups perform synchronized ritual displays.Ogilvie, Malcolm; Carol Ogilvie (1986). Flamingos. Gloucester, UK: Alan Sutton Publishing Limited. {{ISBN|9780862992668}}. {{oclc|246861013}}. The members of a group stand together and display to each other by stretching their necks upwards, then uttering calls while head-flagging, and then flapping their wings.Studer-Thiersch, A. (1975). "Basle Zoo", pp. 121–130 in N. Duplaix-Hall and J. Kear, editors. Flamingos. Berkhamsted, United Kingdom: T. & A. D. Poyser, {{ISBN|140813750X}}. The displays do not seem directed towards an individual, but occur randomly. These displays stimulate "synchronous nesting" (see below) and help pair up those birds that do not already have mates.Flamingos form strong pair bonds, although in larger colonies, flamingos sometimes change mates, presumably because more mates are available to choose.Studer-Thiersch, A. (2000). "What 19 Years of Observation on Captive Great Flamingos Suggests about Adaptations to Breeding under Irregular Conditions." Waterbirds: The International Journal of Waterbird Biology 23 (Special Publication I: Conservation Biology of Flamingos): 150–159. Flamingo pairs establish and defend nesting territories. They locate a suitable spot on the mudflat to build a nest (the female usually selects the place). Copulation usually occurs during nest building, which is sometimes interrupted by another flamingo pair trying to commandeer the nesting site for their use. Flamingos aggressively defend their nesting sites. Both the male and the female contribute to building the nest, and to protecting the nest and egg.BOOK, Johnson, Alan, Cézilly, Frank, 1975, The Greater Flamingo, 124–130, T & AD Poyser Ltd., London, 978-1-4081-3866-3, Same-sex pairs have been reported.BOOK, Bagemihl, Bruce, 1999, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, Stonewall Inn Editions, 524–7, 978-0312253776, After the chicks hatch, the only parental expense is feeding.JOURNAL, Cézilly, F., Johnson, A., Tourenq, C., 1994, Variation in Parental Care with Offspring Age in the Greater Flamingo,weblink The Condor, 96, 3, 809–812, 10.2307/1369487, 1369487, Both the male and the female feed their chicks with a kind of crop milk, produced in glands lining the whole of the upper digestive tract (not just the crop). The hormone prolactin stimulates production. The milk contains fat, protein, and red and white blood cells. (Pigeons and doves—Columbidae—also produce crop milk (just in the glands lining the crop), which contains less fat and more protein than flamingo crop milk.)BOOK, The Birder's Handbook, Paul, Ehrlich, David S., Dobkin, Darryl, Wheye, 1988, 271, Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, NY, US, 978-0-671-62133-9,weblink For the first six days after the chicks hatch, the adults and chicks stay in the nesting sites. At around 7–12 days old, the chicks begin to move out of their nests and explore their surroundings. When they are two weeks old, the chicks congregate in groups, called "microcrèches", and their parents leave them alone. After a while, the microcrèches merge into "crèches" containing thousands of chicks. Chicks that do not stay in their crèches are vulnerable to predators.JOURNAL, Gaillo, A., Johnson, A. R., Gallo, A., 1995, Adult Aggressiveness and Crèching Behavior in the Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber roseus, Colonial Waterbirds, 18, 2, 216–221, 10.2307/1521484, 1521484,

Status and conservation

{{See also|List of Phoenicopteriformes by population}}

In captivity

The first flamingo hatched in a European zoo was a Chilean flamingo at Zoo Basel in Switzerland in 1958. Since then, over 389 flamingos have grown up in Basel and been distributed to other zoos around the globe.NEWS, Zolli celebrates 50 years of flamingo breeding and science, Zolli feiert 50 Jahre Flamingozucht und Flamingosforschung, German, Basler Zeitung, 13 August 2008,weblink 21 March 2010, Greater, an at least 83-year-old greater flamingo, believed to be the oldest in the world, died at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia in January 2014.NEWS, Fedorowytsch, Tom, Flamingo believed to be world's oldest dies at Adelaide Zoo aged 83, 31 January 2014, ABC Radio Australia,weblink 31 January 2014,

Relationship with humans

File:FlamingoMocheLMC.jpg|right|thumb|Moche ceramic depicting flamingo (200 AD) Larco Museum Collection, Lima, Peru]]
  • Ancient Romans considered their tongues a delicacy.WEB, Flamingo Feeding, Stanford University, 16 August 2008,weblink
  • In the Americas, the Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped nature.Benson, Elizabeth (1972) The Mochica: A Culture of Peru. New York, NY: Praeger Press. They placed emphasis on animals, and often depicted flamingos in their art.BOOK, Berrin, Katherine, Larco Museum, The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera, New York, Thames and Hudson, 1997, 978-0500018026,
  • Flamingos are the national bird of the Bahamas.
  • Andean miners have killed flamingos for their fat, believing that it would cure tuberculosis.WEB,weblink Flamingos,, 2013-03-30,
  • In the United States, pink plastic flamingo statues are popular lawn ornaments.WEB, Clayton, Collins, Backstory: Extinction of an American icon?, Christian Science Monitor, 2 November 2006,weblink 9 February 2010,



External links

{{Wikispecies|Phoenicopteridae}}{{Commons|Phoenicopterus}} {{Birds}}{{Flamingos|state=all}}{{Taxonbar|from=Q41994}}

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