The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is a large Afro-Eurasian bird featured in the Standard Edition of Planet Zoo.
Population in the Wild: 500,000
The greater flamingo (or Phoenicopterus roseus) is a large species of migratory bird that is widespread across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. It lives on the mudflats and coastal lagoons of temperate and warm environments, and is a filter feeder which uses its beak to stir up mud and filter out algae, invertebrates and seeds.
Male and female flamingos look the same with pale-pink to orange-pink feathers, pink legs, a pink beak with a black tip, and often brighter pink patches on their wings. They also have black flight feathers, measure between 44in and 60in tall, and weigh between 4.4lb and 8lb.
The species is not endangered but is still affected by humanity's impact, including a high sensitivity to the water pollution that's caused by agricultural or manufacturing run-off. This damages their breeding environments and kills many of the invertebrates on which they feed - they are also affected by habitat encroachment from humans. As a result, the European Union has implemented protections on many salt flats and coastal lagoons, ensuring that flamingo populations can return to the same areas to feed and reproduce.
Greater flamingos are social animals and prefer to live in a large flock. Although mating may be monogamous, group members will often help each other protect and feed chicks.
In order to attract a mate, both sexes of flamingo perform synchronized 'dances' which involve neck stretching, preening and wing movements - all done at the same time as part of a large group. Once a female has been suitably impressed by a male's appearance and dance, she will move away from the group and he will follow. She will then put her neck down and spread her wings, inviting the male to mate with her.
Flamingos are monogamous - some for a season, some for life. Together, the two partners will build a mound of mud with a single egg. It's incubated there for 27 to 31 days by both the mother and father, and is fed by regurgitated 'crop milk' for the first 3 to 4 weeks of its life. After this, it will begin filter feeding and, at 10 weeks old, the chicks fledge, but they will live in a creche that's looked over by a non-breeding adult for another month thereafter.
The birds are fully grown at 2-years old and sexually mature at 3, although they are unlikely to mate until they are between 5 and 10.
Bird Pellets · Shrimp · Mollusks and Blue Green Algae
Greater Flamingo doesn't benefit from sharing space with other species.
Zoopedia Fun Facts
- Flamingos develop their pink coloration from the food they eat; they accumulate carotenoid pigments in their feathers from the algae and invertebrates they feed upon.
- Parent flamingos can identify their chick's cry from within a crowd of thousands of other flamingos.
- Flamingos are born with straight beaks; the beak starts to curve when they are 1 months old and allows them to filter feed.
- Flamingos often stand on one leg and also do this when sleeping. This is believed to be to prevent heat loss; only one leg is exposed to cold air or water
- The earliest forms of flamingos are seen 40 million years ago in the fossil record.