What do flamingos eat?
Pink Flamingos are beautiful specimens that continue to captivate the curiosity of researchers. Their pink color fascinates naturalists even more, because it makes them so majestic. However, their plumage is gray or white from the time they give birth until they are three years old. This pink texture is without a doubt due to their special diet that keeps them alive and well. 💪
Pink Flamingos mainly eat small crustaceans at the bottom of the ponds or streams in which they thrive. Being omnivorous species, their diet also consists of algae and small aquatic plants. You will have understood it, we are going to see together in this article what the Pink Flamingo feeds on, but not only! For a better understanding of its diet, we will recall beforehand some of its intrinsic characteristics. We will also go into more depth as to how it feeds: we will reveal all its secret techniques! 🤩
General information about the famous Pink Feathered Bird
The Phoenicopterus Roseus, better known under the common name of Pink Flamingo is also the most common species of flamingo. This species of the animal kingdom has specificities that arouse a lot of interest both in the community of biologists as well as in that of simple amateurs. 🦩
Main characteristics of the Pink Flamingo
The Flamingo is one of the rare birds that has braved the weather and climate changes over time. Fossil examinations attest to the fact that its existence dates back to the Miocene age. Its appearance often intrigues naturalists for its long neck, large legs, small tail and huge wings. 😯 Another distinction lies in the flippers of its legs, which are not only short, but also equipped with some interdigital limbs. Moreover, their females are largely smaller and lighter compared to the males. They weigh only three kilograms, which makes it easy for naturalists to distinguish the two sexes.
Another way to differentiate females from males is that the latter have a darker hue. Indeed, the uropygial glands of males are more predominant than those of females. During the summer period, these glands produce oil under the effect of heat. These oils have the role of intensifying the pink color of the animal. 💗 This is how the males shine during the summer.
Pink Flamingos and their Natural Environment
The pink flamingo is among the most sociable birds. The man does not inspire him any fear and he is very emotional. Moreover, it lives in colonies countable in hundreds or even thousands of birds. They usually live near areas of saline, brackish or alkaline water where they can get food. Due to global warming, some lakes are drying up, forcing the bird to migrate to another body of water. They normally migrate in groups at night and never stop croaking. 🎶
Faced with the success of industrial salinization lagoons that find their homes near salt water, these birds find themselves in a compromising situation. 😲 In fact, they experience migration and having to adapt to a new environment badly. On top of that, many hunters target them so they can feast on them. Several gourmets have admitted that the tongues of flamingos are a pure delight. In addition, some researchers have even declared that their fat is an excellent remedy against tuberculosis.
The Behavior of Pink Flamingos
The flamingo remains a remarkable specimen even when flying. It tends to stretch its neck and legs, which gives it a slender and frail appearance. Given its size and weight, this species of bird must run at high speed on flat ground before taking flight. At rest, it imitates the position of the stork. As for its call, it croaks. Curiously, this call is similar to that of geese and crows. 🦢
Moreover, the pink flamingo occupies most of its wading day feeding or preening its plumage. However, one should also know that this bird lives in fear. It is the prey of several predators, namely the eagle and the gulls. In principle, it is only to the youngest that these predators attack. Only the marabou is able to attack the adults.
Feeding of the Pink Flamingos: What do they eat?
There have been many things to say about the generalities of flamingos. Yet their diet holds just as many juicy details! 🧐
The Basic Diet of the Pink Flamingo: Crustaceans
Flamingos are wading birds that are characterized by their beauty and texture so special. In reality, it is only a result of the food chain. The fact is that the vast majority of birds live near salt lagoons and ponds. These places often proliferate with pink colored algae that represent the basic food of small crustaceans known as Artemia Salima. It is thanks to the binary relationship that links the species to shrimp that these birds can keep a pink plumage.
Without these crustaceans, the immune system of this bird can weaken and it will gradually return to its gray texture. Therefore, researchers have found that in order to survive and preserve this pretty color, these birds need to feed on these shrimp indispensably. 🦐 Any alteration of their habitat can also promote their disappearance, as it is very likely that they will no longer be able to obtain food. This especially causes deprivation as to the crustaceans that are vital to them. This is why it has been said that the flamingo cannot survive in captivity.
An Omnivorous Diet
As said before, the pink flamingo cannot do without Artemia Salamia. Nevertheless, as it is an omnivorous species, it also feeds on plants and algae, which is why it lives in communities near salt ponds. It also feeds on protozoa and any type of insect that is within its reach. It is in this context that the larvae and the Chironomids are also part of its type of food. However, to find them, they must move to coastal areas near lagoons.
In addition, the flamingo also eats freshwater fish. 🐟 It can also consume seeds of aquatic plants and is fond of rice. In a simplified way, these beautiful birds mainly feed on aquatic invertebrates, larvae and their eggs. Like other birds, they cannot adapt to other diets than those mentioned above. For this reason, it is strictly forbidden to capture them, for many reasons.
How do Pink Flamingos Eat?
In addition to their singular diet, flamingos also deserve some interest in the way they eat. The fact is that they use a certain method, due to a particular morphology. 😏
Specific hunting methods
Its color and method of ingesting food accentuate the authenticity of the flamingo. It is one of the few birds that can practice the seep and slime method. It is certainly due to the length of its beak, but let us be interested more precisely in the particularities of this last one. It is provided with lamellae whose functions are comparable to the baleen of a whale. Thanks to this particularity, the experts were able to observe several methods of food prospecting. Thus, a shallow water forces it to plunge its head and to move.
This technique allows him to infiltrate the water column to find his food. It can also use the traditional bird technique by staying in place and trampling the mud with its feet. This way, the insects will come out on their own and the bird can feed at will. 👌
Another method is to stomp on the ground while gradually turning around the semi-submerged beak. This is an atypical method of flamingos that serves to encircle their prey. Moreover, the salty waters of these ponds are rarely deep, but when they are, they force the famous wader to dive partially in order to filter it. To do this, only its hindquarters must protrude above the surface. It must also move its legs to avoid drowning and to keep itself vertical.
A Beak with a Morphology adapted to Hunting
It is because of its imposing size that the pink flamingo spends most of its time feeding, day and night. In all, there are 6 species, all with a forked beak that allows them to filter water and mud as mentioned above. It is by doing so that it will be able to capture the tiny preys which constitute its basic food. Moreover, this technique continues to surprise many researchers despite the fact that it is slow in its digestion. 🕓
The beak of this bird is equipped with several kinds of combs that are held upside down with points that are directed towards the back. Thanks to such a particularity, the bird can filter the water to then spit it out keeping only the mollusks and the crustaceans trapped by the combs. It will be enough for him thereafter to swallow them. Said like that, the process seems to be easy and fast, but in reality, the pink flamingo feeds in a very slow way. This is one of its little secrets to keep all their shine. 😎
Find the famous Stilt in all its flavors
Flamingos are beautiful and gentle animals, an intriguing animal that soothes the soul. So if you have a Flamingo appetite, feel free to visit our collections by clicking on the image below! 👇
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