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Chilean Flamingo

Phoenicopterus chilensis

Flamingo Gallery

About the Chilean Flamingo

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Class: Aves  
Order: Phoenicopteriformes  
Family: Pheonicopteridae
Genus: Phoenicopterus  
Species: chilensis 

Chilean Flamingos are pink in color, with some darker, crimson highlights along the edges of their wings. Their long legs and necks help them reach up and bend down to forage for food or wade in not-so-shallow waters. These birds are very social and enjoy living in big groups in warm and tropical climates.

 

Chilean Flamingo Facts

Appearance:
The Chilean flamingo is recognizable by its rosy color, large wingspan and long neck. These birds have long, featherless legs, a black beak that's bent sharply downward and a short tail. The Chilean flamingo is larger than most species of flamingo (there are six species in total) and has paler plumage.

Size:
Height: Approximately 4 feet
Wingspan: 4-5 feet
Weight: 6-8 pounds

Diet:
Algae, diatoms and aquatic invertebrates. The flamingo’s pink coloring comes from the beta-carotene found in the brine shrimp and crustaceans it eats.

Reproduction:
Chilean flamingos breed during their spring time (which corresponds to autumn in the Northern Hemisphere). Both males and females perform a ritualized dance to signal their desire to mate. The female will deposit her single egg on a nest made of mud in shallow water. Both parents incubate the egg over 27-31 days. The chick becomes mature in three to five years.

Behavior:
Chilean flamingos congregate in large flocks. When nesting, they defend the area immediately surrounding their nest but are otherwise non-territorial. Chilean flamingos turn their beaks upside down and sweep them through the water in order to pick up food. By pumping their tongues five to six times per second, they're able to push excess water out of their beaks.

Habitat/Range:
Chilean flamingos range from central Peru to south along the Andes to Tierra del Fuego. They live in warm, tropical environments from sea level to altitudes of 14,800 feet. Chilean flamingos live in muddy, shallow lakes that can be alkaline or brackish, and the soil where they live is usually barren of plants.

Median Life Expectancy:
28 years

Threats:
Egg-harvesting by humans can result in the collapse of a colony of Chilean flamingo. They are also disturbed by mining, hunting and tourism in their native ranges.