Whenever I have the privilege to observe a flamingo in its natural habitat, I am always awestruck. Their graceful movements, their elegant stature, their beautiful feathers of pink…I could just watch them for hours. They really are one of my favorite birds.
After seeing them, I am always wondering…where do they get their pink color from? Why do they stand on one leg? How do they turn their necks so gracefully?
Our flamingo tassels (we have one with yellow feathers and one with pink feathers) are quite popular so we imagine that perhaps you are as enamored with this bird as we are. So we did a little research on this beautiful bird and we thought you might like these flamingo facts as much as we did. Enjoy!
- Flamingos get their pink color from the rich sources of beta carotene found in their food.
- They are very social birds, living in colonies whose population can number into the thousands.
- In Ancient Rome, flamingo tongues were considered a delicacy.
- Flamingos are the national bird of the Bahamas, but they are not the state bird of Florida (that would be the Northern Mockingbird).
- Thanks to their webbed feet, they are able to “run” on water to gain speed before taking flight.
- They have a life span of twenty to thirty years.
- An accurate cave painting of a flamingo dating back to 5,000 B.C. was found in the south of Spain.
- The Caribbean flamingo displays the brightest plumage of pink and orange.
- Flamingos lay their eggs in a nest of mud, not branches.
- They get their name from the Spanish word “flamenco”, which comes from the Latin word “flamma”, meaning flame or fire.
- A flamingo has 19 cervical vertebrae in the neck, which is why they are able to move their necks so gracefully in several directions.
- In Peru, the flamingo is considered to be a sacred animal.
- They routinely participate in collective ritual displays, meant to promote hormone production and healthy breeding. Activities seen during these displays include head-flagging, wing salutes, twist-preens, and marching.
- Why do they stand on one leg? We don’t really know for sure. It could be to retain body heat, it could just be more comfortable, or it could be something we have yet to discover about these beautiful creatures.