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Chilean Flamingo

Classification
  • Order: Chilean Flamingo
  • Family: Phaencopteridae
  • Genus: Phoenicopterus
  • Species: chilensis
Fun Fact

Flamingos will lock their “knees” (which are really their ankles) and stand on one leg. Standing in this manner helps them to conserve heat.

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About Chilean Flamingos

Chilean flamingos stand four to five feet tall and can weigh anywhere from 13-16 pounds. They have a long neck and long, slender legs. Flamingos are filter feeders, eating aquatic invertebrates, seeds and algae from shallow water and mud. They walk along the bottom of the lake kicking up the mud with their feet. Water is sucked into their beak. As their tongue pushes the water out, it is filtered through a row of spines, or lamellae, along the edge of the bill, which traps the food. The pink coloration comes from pigments, called caretonoids, in the tiny animals they eat.

These birds are gregarious, usually living in flocks numbering in the thousands. When in these large groups, they can be quite loud while making their deep, honking noises along with other vocalizations, such as grunting and howling. They do everything in these groups including breeding, feeding and flying. The large group is also the main defense. Having so many individuals increases the possibility of predator sightings, but decreases the probability of an individual becoming prey.

Chilean Flamingos in the Wild

Habitat

They can be found in shallow, salty lakes and lagoons.

Location

Chilean flamingos are found in South America from central Peru south through Chile, Bolivia and Argentina to Tierra del Fuego.

Diet

Flamingos are filter feeders and eat aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and algae.

Population Status

This species is listed as “near threatened” due to egg harvesting, habitat destruction, and hunting.

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