Last Reviewed and Updated on July 20, 2022
Flamingos are one of the most recognizable animals in the animal kingdom. These large, pink birds live in many different habitats, even some of the harshest. Read through some of the most interesting facts about flamingos, from where they get their signature color to their mating rituals.
1. Flamingos aren’t naturally pink; they are white
They would be white if not for their diet. These birds are born white or white-gray, and it takes a couple of years for them to get their signature colors. They come in different colors, from very light pink to almost red. The color comes from carotenoids, which are found in some microscopic algae. Brine shrimp feed on these algae. Flamingos eat both the brine shrimp and the algae, and this is how they get carotenoids in their system.
These birds metabolize the pigment and the pigment deposits in their feathers.
2. They eat with their heads upside down
These birds eat with their heads upside down because of the way their beaks evolved and how they consume their food. Flamingos are filter feeders, sucking in the mud and the water through their bills and filtering out the food.
Think this is wacky? Check out our list of weirdest animal facts.
3. They are born with straight beaks
Besides their pink color, flamingos are known for their curved black beaks. Surprisingly enough, flamingos are born with their beaks straight. The beaks begin to curve as flamingos grow older. One of the more interesting facts about flamingos for sure.
4. A flock of flamingos can have up to a million animals
A group of flamingos can be called a flamboyance. Pretty neat, right? These animals flock together in huge numbers, from a couple thousand to up to a million animals.
5. These birds are tough; they can live in harsh environments
They can survive in hypersaline habitats; their resilient skin protects them. They are also not concerned with freezing temperatures, and they can stand extremely high temperatures when they graze next to geysers. One resilient bird.
6. Flamingoes have some great dance moves
One of the most fun facts about flamingos is their killer dance moves. They have over 100 combinations of dance moves they can perform during courtship. Both male and female flamingos court each other with their dance moves.
7. Both male and female flamingos take turns sitting on the egg
Both female and male flamingos build their nests together. They build mounds made of mud, straw, stones, and feathers using their bills. Both females and males take turns standing or sitting on the nest and incubating the egg.
8. No one knows why they often stand on one foot
Flamingos are often seen standing on one leg only. It is possible they do so to better maintain their body temperature in harsh conditions, but no one knows for sure.
9. They can swim
While they don’t really swim often, they are capable of swimming and are good swimmers.
10. They are usually monogamous but don’t always mate for life
Usually, a single male will pair and form a bond with a single female each year. They court each other, build the nest together, take turns incubating the eggs, and generally raise their young together. When the next mating season comes, some flamingos pair with new partners, and some stay with the same.