The American flamingo is a large species of flamingo closely related to the greater flamingo and Chilean flamingo. Along with the greater flamingo, it has the longest legs relative to its body size of all birds. The bill bends characteristically downward, and at the base it is pale yellow, in the middle it is pink to orange, and the tip is black. Their plumage is deep pink/red/orange and they are the brightest in plumage of all flamingo species. The young birds are gray in color, their feathers slowly turning pink as they mature.
- The American flamingo, like all flamingos, is a noisy bird. Its voice plays an important part in keeping the flock together. Sounds vary according to the type of activity, usually low gabbling while feeding, and nasal honking during flight. Courtship displays may be accompanied by growling and grunting.
- American flamingos sometimes feed while swimming, upending like ducks, paddling with their feet to keep their position. These large flamingos can reach down as far as 120-130 cm, which enables them to access more food.
- Each day flamingos spend 15-30% of their time cleaning their feathers, spreading oil that is produced from a special gland over feathers with their beak.
- The visible “knee” of a flamingo is, in fact, an ankle joint. The true knee is near to the body and is hidden by the feathers.
- A flamingo’s neck has 19 bones and their feathers and beaks are made of a strong substance called keratin.