Celebrated on May 29th
Flamingo chicks are born gray or white and take up to three years to reach their mature pink, orange, or red plumage. Their young feathers are much less structured and fluffier than adult plumage, but that down provides excellent insulation to help keep baby flamingos warm. The greater flamingo is the largest flamingo species and can measure up to five feet tall when standing erect with its head raised, but only weighs a maximum of eight pounds. The lesser flamingo is the smallest flamingo and can reach three feet tall and typically weighs 3-6 pounds.
The word ‘flamingo’ comes from the Spanish word ‘flamenco’ meaning fire, which refers to the bright pink or orange colour of the feathers.Flamingos are among a select few birds that feed their young directly from a secretion produced in their crop (throat), and this ‘crop milk’ is bright pink.
Their interesting feeding technique involves stirring up the mud and water with their long legs and webbed feet. They then bury their bills, or even their entire heads upside down in the water, and suck up both mud and water. They shake their head from side to side to expel the excess mud and water, hold back and eat the plankton, tiny fish and fly larvae. When feeding, flamingos hold their breath.