Where Is the Flamingo in the Food Chain?

Pedro Szekely/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Flamingos are above blue-green algae, brine shrimp and plankton in the food chain and below wild dogs, crocodiles and birds of prey like eagles, vultures and storks. They have few natural predators, but flamingo eggs and chicks are vulnerable to other birds, especially if they are separate from their groups.

Flamingos get their recognizable pink and reddish colors from carotenoids in the plant and animal plankton they regularly feed upon. Flamingos have liver enzymes that break down the carotenoids and turn them into pigments. Their beaks are used upside down and are adapted to separate undesirable matter like mud from their food. Large tongues with a rough surface assist with the filtering process.