A-z - Animals

What's the Lesser Flamingo's Name + 4 More Amazing Facts!

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There is no shortage of interesting things to learn about lesser flamingos. This brightly colored bird is one of the most amazing animals in the world. Did you know that lesser flamingos are not born pink? Read on to find out where they get their signature shades and more! let's start!

#1: Lesser flamingos are called flamingos!

cute baby flamingo
Lesser flamingos are known as flamingos.

©Ondrej Chvatal/Shutterstock.com

Since lesser flamingos are birds, it's no surprise that they are sometimes called chicks. However, you might be surprised to learn that these little birds have a unique name: Lesser Flamingos!

#2: Little flamingos get their color from milk!

Baby flamingo closeup
Lesser flamingos turn pink from drinking their parents' crimson milk.

©Ondrej Chvatal/Shutterstock.com

As we all know, the bright pink plumage is the most famous feature of the lesser flamingo. However, these amazing creatures weren't born with their signature hues. What's interesting about their unique color is where it comes from: their mother's milk! Let's learn about this complex process, and what it means for adult flamingos.

When flamingo chicks are born, they are nearly all white. As they feed on their mother's milk, their feathers gradually change color until they take on their signature rose color. Once a lesser flamingo is weaned, it maintains its pink plumage by eating foods rich in alpha and beta carotenoids that are also colored (pink).

When female flamingos nurse their young, they secrete bright red milk. The protein in this milk is extracted from her body. So, what does this mean for flamingo mothers? The answer is simple: as long as she is nursing, her feathers will fade. This means that lactating flamingos are more sluggish than other flamingos.

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#3: Lesser Flamingos Have Unique Beaks

lesser flamingos eat
Lesser flamingos are born with small, straight beaks, which allow them to drink milk from crops.

©Deb Kletch/Shutterstock.com

One of the signature physical features of flamingos is their curved beak. However, you might be surprised to learn that lesser flamingo pups aren't born with this ability. In contrast, young flamingos have small, straight beaks. The scientists say this is an evolutionary trait that allows them to receive suckling from their mothers, which would not have been possible if they had been born with curved beaks.

The beak of the lesser flamingo enlarges and slowly changes shape. By the time they are ready to wean, they grow curved beaks to match their parents. But have you ever wondered what a curved beak does to a young flamingo and its parents? Let's explore together!

Since flamingos feed almost exclusively on small crustaceans and other aquatic life, they must "filter their feed" to stay strong and healthy. This means they turn their heads down and dig mud with their beaks. Then they shake their heads from side to side to deal with the dirt and forget about their dinner.

Without the curved beak, flamingos may not be able to survive, as it is difficult for them to retrieve prey from muddy river banks.

#4: Little Flamingo Chicks Are Usually Single Dogs

lesser flamingo family
Most of the time, a female flamingo will only have one baby at a time.

© Savazzi Photo/Shutterstock.com

Did you know that it is extremely rare for a female flamingo to give birth to more than one juvenile flamingo at the same time? This is real! The vast majority of flamingos are born single, the researchers said. This makes it easier for flamingo parents to protect their unborn chicks from predators.

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Lesser flamingo chicks hatch in a large egg 27 to 31 days before hatching. Their nests are made of mud and can be up to 12 inches tall! Therefore, flamingos usually mate during the rainy season, when mud is plentiful. Once the nest is built, male and female flamingos take turns perching on their eggs, keeping them warm until little new life comes into the world!

Lesser flamingo chicks don't leave their nest until they are about a week old. They use this time to gain strength, drink milk from their parents' crops, and build energy for upcoming adventures. Once they venture out of the nest, they learn how to swim and hunt from flocks of adults.

lesser flamingos and flock
Flamingos come in flocks of anywhere from two to thousands.

© mumin-uppi/Shutterstock.com

Flamingos are one of the most social animals on earth. They travel in flocks that can vary in size from two birds to thousands of birds. There is no doubt that parent flamingos get a lot of support in raising their young. In fact, flocks play an active role in producing strong, independent adult lesser flamingos.

One of the main ways a flamingo flock helps raise young flamingos is by teaching them to hunt. Lesser flamingo chicks keep an eye on the adult members of their family. They then mimic the behavior of adults, eventually learning from them everything they need to survive.

When flamingos are kept in captivity, they require social interaction to thrive. So exotic animal owners, animal sanctuaries, and zoos always make sure to have at least two flamingos at a time.


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More from AZ Animals

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Baby flamingo closeup

© Ondrej Chvatal/Shutterstock.com

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the name of the lesser flamingo?

Like most other birds, lesser flamingos can be called chicks. More specifically, though, lesser flamingos are known as flamingos.

How much does a lesser flamingo weigh?

Lesser flamingos are tiny animals weighing between 115 and 140 grams at birth. They can vary in length from 49 to 55 mm.

What do lesser flamingos eat?

Lesser flamingo chicks survive on their parents' crop milk for their first month of life. Afterwards, they feed on crustaceans and other underwater creatures and plants.

Where do lesser flamingos live?

Lesser flamingo chicks live in tropical and subtropical climates. They are mainly found along the coastlines of South America, Africa and Asia.

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