What Do Flamingos Eat?

Chris Preen/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Flamingos eat algae, diatoms and small crustaceans found in lagoons or large, shallow lakes. The flamingo can be found in South America, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean, depending on the species.

Flamingos are a pink or red color because of the carotenoid pigments that are found in the food that they eat. The Caribbean flamingos, which are a subspecies of greater flamingo, have the brightest colors, with vibrant red, pink and orange on their faces, bills and legs.

Flamingos are also quite social and love to live in groups. The groups can be anywhere from a few pairs of birds to as many as thousands or tens of thousands. Flamingos also like to put on ritualized displays. Some of the display moves include head-flagging, wing saluting, twist-preening and marching. Head-flagging involves stretching the neck up as high as possible while turning the head from side to side in a particular rhythm. The wing salute is showing off the different colors by cocking the tail to the side and stretching the neck out. The twist-preen is when the flamingo twists its neck all the way back while quickly preening its feathers with its bill. Marching involves the entire flock marching together and then quickly switching direction, once again all together. Flamingos also will communicate with one another through vocalizations such as low gabbling, nasal honking and growling.