What do flamingos eat?
Most people have many different ideas of what flamingos eat, with some even believing that they feed on their own blood!
While this is just a myth, flamingos are one of 28 species in the family Phoenicopteridae.
They feed on small fish, algae, larvae, mollusks, and crustaceans.
Flamingos are known for the unique way they eat, with their heads upside down in the water because of their extremely flexible necks!
This allows them to filter food items from the mud and silt on the bottom of shallow water bodies.
They also store food in their throat pouch, whereupon swallowing it they will regurgitate the undigested parts such as pebbles and sand for later consumption which is called cephalic posturing.
This behavior of storing food before ingestion is widespread within the animal kingdom, including bats, deer, and mice!
Flamingos live throughout the world in small groups that flock together.
These groups are called colonies, with some having up to 100,000 members!
Flamingos have adapted to living in large colonies by developing a social hierarchy system.
This system is based on body language, color, and calls.
If an intruder is heard or seen they adopt a ‘stand-still’ posture which is difficult to distinguish from their neighbors.
They also lay eggs in a single layer which reduces aggression between females.
Flamingos are also known for their very long legs, bright pink feathers, and unusual slender beak.
Their color is produced by the presence of carotenoid pigments in either their food or secretions from glands above the eyes.
These colors will vary depending on the species, age, sex, and location of an individual flamingo.
Flamingos are also known to have a very long lifespan averaging between 30-50 years old.
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