This species has the most vibrant plumage of all flamingo species. Flamingos, regardless of species, get their distinct pink or red colour from the algae and shrimp they eat. In Bird Paradise, our flamingos are given a special diet to stay in the pink.
Flamingos never see the food they eat! Dipping their head upside down, they take in a mouthful of nutrient-rich water and use their powerful tongue to push it through the fine bristles in their beak.
The bristles act like a sieve to retain food particles such shrimp and algae which the birds consume.
Flamingos are known for standing on one leg for a prolonged period. In this posture, they reduce heat loss through their legs.
Their long legs allow them to wade into much deeper water than other birds to forage for food. Flamingos are the only long-legged bird that can swim well.
Flamingo parents produce a red, nutritious liquid to feed their chicks for two months while the young ones develop the special filter-feeding apparatus for foraging. The fatty `milk’ contains lots of red and white blood cells.
Milk production is triggered by the begging calls of the chicks, and not localized in the crop but involves the glands lining the entire upper digestive tract.
Both parents participate in building a mud nest to keep their egg away from water. They continue to add mud during incubation to maintain the shape of the nest. Chicks in a colony hatch around the same time.
Week-old chicks gather in a large creche, supervised by a few adults. Parents returning from foraging trips find their chicks based on their calls!