Learn about the
SPECIES: Phoenicopterus ruber
POPULATION SIZE: 300,000
LIFE SPAN: 40-50 YRS
TOP SPEED: 60 KM/H
WEIGHT: 2.2-2.8 KG
HEIGHT: 120-140 CM
WINGSPAN: 1.5 M
Where to find the
The American flamingo inhabits South America’s north coast, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and some of the Caribbean islands. It is the only flamingo that is native to North America. It lives in a wide variety of freshwater and saline habitats such as lagoons, estuaries, coastal and inland lakes, and mudflats.
Flamingos live, feed, and breed in large flocks, which may number thousands of individuals. When mating and interacting with others in the colony, they use highly ritualized displays. Most of the day American flamingos spend feeding. They are shy and fly away if disturbed. Both adults and juveniles spend most of their time feeding, preening, and resting. Each individual becomes aggressively territorial when foraging for food. A bird claims a “territory” and doesn’t allow others to come nearby. If one does come too close, the bird that has been offended will exhibit threatening displays in warning, so that the intruder will leave. A colony establishes distinct areas where the birds can freely interact, the drinking area being one such place. The American flamingo is very nomadic, and travels hundreds of kilometers, depending on the availability of resources.
colony, flamboyance, stand, regiment
What does the
American flamingos eat mainly brine, shrimps, mollusks, but also marine worms, insects, and algae. Flamingos eat in an amusing manner. They position their beaks in the water upside down and suck water into them. They then pump the water out of the sides of their beaks. Tiny animals and plants remain to provide a tasty meal.
American flamingos are threatened with human disturbance and habitat loss along the Caribbean’s coastal wetlands.
IUCN Red List estimates the number of mature individuals to be around 260,000-330,000 birds. Overall, the numbers of this species are increasing today, and it is classified as least concern (LC).
American flamingos eat large amounts of crustaceans, aquatic invertebrates, and algae, and so have a big impact on these populations.