American Flamingo


Phoenicopterus ruber

HABITAT: shallow salty lagoons and lakes
Diet: small crustaceans, mollusks, algae, and fish
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Their story:

Flamingos are known for their signature pink color, but where does that color come from? Flamingos get most of their food from the shallow lagoons and lakes found along the coast. They bend over and skim their beaks on along the top of the water and using special ridges on the edge of their beaks, they filter their food from the water. 

The tiny crustaceans they eat are high in pink and orange pigments. When the flamingos eat them the color then goes into their feathers, beaks, and legs. This process takes a long time. When flamingos hatch, their feathers are gray and it will take about 2-3 years of eating the pink crustaceans for their new adult feathers to turn pink.

Status in the Wild:

Status - endangered

How you can help:

Some flamingo habitat is being destroyed by salt mining and drainage for farmland and other parts of their habitat is affected by trash that washes up on the coastlines. Some trash from the ocean comes all the way from the United States.

You can help by not littering and making sure that your trash always ends up in a trash can. Also, instead of throwing all of your trash away, recycle the items that can be, like plastic bottles and paper. Look for the recycle symbol before you throw something away.


Caribbean islands, Yucatan peninsula, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia

Animal Ranges Maps - American Flamingo