You Are What You Eat: Why the Flamingo is Pink

People often say “You are what you eat.” What does this phrase mean? It means that the food you eat makes a difference to your health. The phrase began in 1826 when French lawyer Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote it, but it became more popular in America from 1923 when it appeared in the Bridgeport Telegraph newspaper.

The phrase is generally not used for animals. However, for the Flamingo it is true, and that is why the Flamingo is pink.

The Flamingo has orange-pink feathers. The orange-pink colour comes from the food it eats. 

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American Flamingo: from Juvenile to Adult

Some animals have young that look like a similar but miniature version of the adult. Other animals have young that look very different from the adult.

The young (juvenile) American Flamingo looks very different from its parents.

The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large wetland wading bird with reddish-pink feathers, a large beak, long legs, and a curved S-shaped neck. 

The juvenile flamingo has fluffy grey feathers. The adult flamingo has reddish-pink well-defined feathers. It takes 2-3 years for the juvenile flamingo to gain its pink feathers.

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American Flamingo Juvenile

The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large wetland wading bird with reddish-pink feathers, a large beak, long legs, and a curved S-shaped neck. 

The adult Flamingo measures 120-145 centimetres (47-57 inches) tall. 

The photographed American Flamingo chick was born on 18 March 2019 in the Paris Zoo in France, so it is now 8 months old. It was first photographed when it was one month old. 

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Flamingo Chick

The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large wetland wading bird with reddish-pink feathers, a large beak, long legs, and a curved S-shaped neck. 

The adult Flamingo measures 120-145 centimetres (47-57 inches) tall. 

The female lays one egg on the muddy ground and both parents look after it. The egg hatches after 28-32 days. 

The chick has greyish-white feathers, and does not gain its pink colour for 2-3 years. Both parents look after the chick for the first six years of its life.

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American Flamingo

The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large wetland wading bird. It is also known as the Caribbean Flamingo. 

The American Flamingo has reddish-pink feathers. Its wing coverts are red, and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. Its beak is pink and white with a black tip. Its long legs are pink, and it usually stands on one leg. It has a long, curved S-shaped neck. 

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Chilean Flamingo, Greater Flamingo, and Lesser Flamingo: what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between the Chilean Flamingo, Greater Flamingo, and Lessor Flamingo?

The Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus), and Lessor Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) are large wetland birds with S-shaped necks.

The Chilean Flamingo is from South America, and the Greater and Lesser Flamingo are from east and southern Africa. The Greater and Lesser Flamingo colonies often mix together.

The Chilean Flamingo has a pink body with darker pink wing feathers. The Greater Flamingo has a white or pale-pink body with black flight feathers. The Lesser Flamingo has a rose-pink to white body with black flight feathers.

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Why do birds stand on one leg?

Almost all birds stand on one leg. Some can even sleep while standing on one leg. Why do they do it and why don’t they fall over?

Long-legged birds, such as storks and flamingos, often stand on one leg, but so do short-legged birds, such as ducks.

Birds generally don’t have feathers on their legs. Standing on one leg reduces heat loss. Birds tuck one leg under their feathered body to keep it warm, leaving only one leg exposed.

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