Science is helping the flamingos increase in numbers in various ways. Some scientists in Africa are researching about poisonous bacteria (see Endangered). The bacteria is spreading through lakes in Africa and killing the flamingos. Unfortunately the bacterium has not been identified so samples are being taken from the lake to be tested. Hopefully there will be a cure soon. While this is a benefit of discovering new bacteria it is a problem because it disturbs the flamingo’s natural habitat. I hope that the scientists are being careful with the way they get the bacteria.

Zoos are also helping the flamingos. By keeping different sexes of the flamingos in zoos they are reproducing which keeps the numbers up. Also it is making the world aware of the flamingos as they are not commonly seen in the wild (because of the location).

The Pink Animal

Flamingos are one of the most easily recognised animals in the world because of their colour. Their distinct pink colour is like that because of the pigment in their food. The first feathers flamingos produce are grey because they have a very small diet. Adult flamingos are different shades of pink because of the shrimp they eat, no this does not necessarily mean if you feed them all leaves they will turn green! The bacteria in the water they drink also make’s their feathers turn pink and red.

The legs are another distinct feature of the flamingo. Flamingos keep one leg up at their knee to make it easier to lower their neck into the water to eat. Another reason is too keep their webbed feet from wrinkling like our skin does in the bath. They keep switching their legs every hour to stay comfortable. The most important reason though is too keep warm. Their feathers are their heat source but because their legs don’t have them they curl up, one at a time, to stay warm. That is also why they tuck their heads into their body when they sleep.

Their neck is also a remarkable feature. The flamingo has a long neck so they can pick up their food in the water whist standing up. This is also the reason why they have such a big beak.

Flamingos have very large wings to help them fly a long distances. Parents teach their chicks how to fly by jumping off small hills until they are ready to fly for real.


The flamingo lives in only specific places because of their diet. Each species have a special place they come from. They are…
  • The James Flamingo- high Andes in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina
  • The Chilean Flamingo- Chile and other parts of South America
  • Greater Flamingo- parts of America, South Europe, South and South-East Asia
  • Lesser Flamingo- Africa (mainly Great Rift Valley) and North West India.
  • Andean Flamingo- high Andes in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina
  • American Flamingo- Caribbean and Galapagos islands
Flamingos like warm, watery regions such as lakes, lagoons, mangrove swamps, mudflats, inland lakes, small islands, shallow cost and wetlands. They live in groups of 50-100 called flocks or colonies. Flamingos need to be in a place with lots of food so they can stay strong. They love to live in packs because they are a very social bird and they are protected.


The Flamingos diet consists of marine life. The pigmentation in its food causes the feathers to turn pink.
They eat…
·         Algae
·         Small insects
·         Small crustaceans
·         Shrimp (mainly)
·         Plankton
·         Anchovies
·         Crabs
·         Mollusks
·         Plants
·         Fruit (in zoos)
Baby Flamingos feed on pink milk from their mother until their beak is strong enough to filter get its own food.


Flamingos share the parenting role for their chicks. Female flamingos only reproduce one egg per year which is another cause of endangerment. Chicks are born in medium sized eggs and they take about 30 days to hatch. The parents keep the egg in a mud nest and they take turns sitting on it while the other gets food. Once the baby is born a similar process takes place. One parent protects the baby while the other gets food. Both mother and father produce milk so the baby always has food. Like many other birds, when the baby is learning to eat food the mother or father will pre-chew the food. The baby learns to hunt their food by watching the parents, once the beak is strong enough the baby will feed itself.


There are six types of flamingos that all have their own part of the world. They are…
  • The James Flamingo- most endangered
  • The Chilean Flamingo
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Lesser Flamingo
  • Andean Flamingo
  • American Flamingo
Unlike other animals the different species of flamingo are not that different because they all are sup-species. They are named differently after their habitat, discoverer or size.


The James Flamingo lives in high attitude lagoons in the Andes Mountains and when none were seen there they were considered extinct. In 1957 hikers discovered a flock of about 50 James Flamingos in a dark lagoon. This was amazing and now they are just endangered. The other species of flamingos are threatened but have only been put on the list a few years ago. This means we don’t need to start projects to ‘Save the Flamingos’. This is mainly because almost every zoo in the world has flamingos because they are so popular and unique. Also flamingos are always in large flocks so there are always at least 50.

Flamingos are also endangered because of natural causes. Some bacteria in water are poisonous and unfortunately it kills the flamingo. Scientist have so far been unable to figure out exactly what it is but hopefully soon they will find a cure. Another natural cause is that the female flamingo only produce one egg per year.

Lake Nakuru is located in Africa and is home to 1.5 million flamingos and this lake is in drought. It is killing hundreds of flamingos because it has no water. Along with Human Causes this is one of the most critical causes that are killing flamingos. Luckily Kenya Wildlife Services are doing something about it (please see Social Impact for more information).


The flamingo may only be threatened now but their population is rapidly decreasing because of human causes. Flamingos live in lakes, lagoons and wetlands and they always get polluted because humans throw litter on the ground which can poison, choke and kill the flamingos. Another cause by humans is climate change. We all know about climate change and how we don’t have much water and soon we won’t have any to drink etc... but for flamingos it is the exact same thing only they don’t cause it.

The flamingo is part of the world’s food chain and if it goes then many other animals would be affected. The shrimp and krill’s population will increase because they won’t be eaten as much which means in some lakes, lagoons and wetlands there will be hundreds. That means the plankton that they eat will die out in that water. This means that the waters purity would be affected (because plankton cleans it) which would affect all the other animals etc, etc. Also the vultures, cats and foxes will have nothing to eat. This means there population will decrease and then the things eating them will decrease in population etc, etc. The whole food chain will be disturbed and eventually it will lead to humans so we have to make sure no animal gets extinct.

At the moment not much has been done to save the flamingo because it is only threatened. The worlds focus is more on pandas, gorillas and polar bears. Luckily there is some focus on the flamingo. As mentioned earlier Lake Nakuru is drying out and the Kenya Wildlife Service is trying to do something about it. They have started a campaign to stop using water and save general African wildlife.  Once Flamingos become endangered (which I hope they don’t) more focus will probably be on them.

Flamingos are a very popular at zoos and in the wild if spotted. If the flamingo becomes extinct then people will be disappointed that they will never see the glorious pink bird again. Just like all animals the flamingo brings people together because of websites and campaigning about it.

Plastic flamingos are a huge franchise now and there are many companies devoted to making them. If flamingos become extinct then the plastic ones will be too. This may put many people out of the job which may cause havoc in the economic system. This is just one more reason the flamingo can not become extinct. Plus the plastic flamingo in the front yard is a great topic to discuss. And we don't want to eliminate that, do we?