Flamingos: Their Life and Their Habits by Robert Lamothe
Flamingos: Order: Odontoglossae - North American Marsh Birds Family: Phoenicopteridae - Flamingos (Phoenicopterus Ruber Linnaeus - American Flamingo)
Flamingos are of the Odontoglossae order, North American Marsh Birds. The type of Flamingo that people in the Americas are most familiar with are known as the Greater Flamingos - Phoenicopterus ruber - which are of a larger size than the Flamingos found in Africa, the Lesser Flamingo - Phoeniconaias minor.
One of the most interesting characteristics about Flamingos relates to their distinctive coloring which is a beautiful orange red color although the common conception is that Flamingos are pink as is the case with the Plastic Pink Flamingo found on lawns and else where. Full adult flamingos achieve this coloring as a result of a chemical that is in their diet that is the same chemical that makes carrots orange.1 The aquatic plants and bacteria contain these carotenoid pigments and if a flamingo's diet changes to a diet that lacks this chemical, they revert back to the gray and white color that they had as immature flamingos.
In addition, flamingos eat brine shrimp, small shellfish, water plants, and brine flies in both their crysalis stage when they are attached to rocks and their larvae stage when they are free swimming. Most of the numberous bird species eat arthropods, especially insects. 2
One method for feeding their young that Flamingos and many animal species use is regurgitating their food that they have gathered. Flamingos and Emperor Penguins have special glands in their oesophagus that add nutritious juices to this regurgitated food. 3
To Be Continued
Bibliography and Footnotes