The lesser flamingo is the most numerous of the six flamingo species. Flamingos are very social birds, living in large flocks. Breeding season is dependent on food supply and rainfall and the whole flock breeds at the same time. Breeding pairs are monogamous. During courtship, flamingos interested in each other will often call out in unison, as well as participating in group rituals such as marching and “flagging” – a rapid movement of the head from side to side. The pair builds a mound of dirt and clay into which their eggs are laid. Both parents work together to incubate and care for their young.
Flamingos spend most of their time on the ground, only flying when they need to travel to new feeding or breeding grounds.
Habitat: Alkaline salt lakes and coastal mud flats in sub-Saharan Africa
Diet in the wild: Mostly blue algae, some small crustaceans, fish, insects, and unicellular organisms
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Flamingo fare, krill, gamebird diet, turkey crumble
Size: Stand about 3 feet tall
Family: Baby flamingoes are white and have straight, non-curved beaks. They obtain their characteristic pink color and curved beak later.
Status: Near Threatened
Did you know? Flamingoes’ pink color is derived from alpha and beta carotenoid pigments that they obtain when they eat algae