Flamingo Facts: 12 things you probably don’t know about flamingos
Why am I writing about flamingos? Well for the first time in my history of Rocky Point, I was sent a picture of a beautiful flamingo over by Islas Del Mar island sanctuary (Thank you Corey). Special thanks to Pablo Guzman and Islas Del Mar for the beautiful photos, one of which you can see on the cover of this edition of the Rocky Point Times Newspaper.
Islas Del Mar is a beautiful master plan community developed in a living sanctuary, with a Jack Nicholas golf course, 9 holes completed with 9 more to come, townhomes, villas and custom homes. If you haven’t been there yet, take a drive and have lunch at The Crane restaurant with Chef Luca. The community is a bird lovers’ paradise, and you can count the blue herons standing in the trees on the drive in, as well as the cranes, osprey, hawks, and ducks in the lagoon. Now, we can add flamingos to the list.
Although, I’ve seen this beautiful exotic-looking pink, orange bird up close on vacation in Aruba, I know very little about this amazing, feathered friend. Questions swarmed in my head: Why are they pink? Will we have baby flamingos? Are there more than one in our seaside town? What does a nest look like? Are the chicks pink?
I did some research and I discovered at least 12 things that I didn’t know about flamingos.
- Why are flamingos pink? Well, the old saying, ‘you are what you eat’ couldn’t be truer for the flamingo. I bet you can think of one pink thing we have in this town…our delicious, sweet shrimp, and it is true flamingos dine on brine shrimp, and also on colorful plants that produce natural warm colors such as red, yellow and orange also known as carotenoids. Think carrots and beta-carotene. (Hint: If you’re turning a little pink, maybe cut down on the shrimp).
- Will we have more chicks here in Puerto Peñasco? Flamingos are loyal partners, monogamous and may only lay one egg per year. Yikes! I hope there a few couples standing around.
- What does a nest look like? is it on the ground, in a tree? The nest resembles a mud cone. Yes, like a mini mud volcano, it is built to hold the one egg. So, be careful when walking around the island for mud piles.
- Are baby chicks pink? No, the flamingo chick hatches in the white gray tones, they look soft and furry, and it will be several years for them to become the famous flamenco pink and for their bills to become hook shaped. So, if you see a small whitish-grey soft down bird that resembles a baby swan it might just be a baby flamingo.
- Where did the name Flamingo come from? The name has been said to come from either the Portuguese or Spanish word “flamengo”, which means flame.
- Can they fly? Flamingos are often photographed in large groups on the shore, but they definitely fly. If it is a long-distance flight, they generally fly at night to avoid predators, at speeds of 30-40 mph and can cover 375 miles in one night. They are highflyers and can fly at 10,000-13,000 ft. They resemble an arrow in flight. Radar has captured them at such heights.
- Why does it look like they are eating upside down? Because they are. A flamingo does not have teeth, but their curved bill has a filter, a hair like grate that keeps the food in place so as they scoop up their food by scraping upside down, the water and sand filter out.
- Why do the migrate? Flamingos like to stay where they feel safe from predators. They love shallow water and warm weather. If you see a flamingo keep your distance so we can keep them around.
- What is a group of Flamingoes called? A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance, what a perfect name for a gorgeous species.
- How tall are they? Grown flamingos grow to a height of 4 to 5 feet, but they only weigh between 4 and 8 pounds.
- Why do they only stand on one leg? Scientists and research speculate that the reason why they do that is possibly to keep their limbs warm talking the other foot up in their feathers, some say it’s to conserve energy but who knows, maybe it’s their yoga pose that keeps them Zen and in shape. It also looks like they’re bending their knees backwards, but their knees are up inside the feathers and you’re seeing their ankles being bent.
- What do they feed their baby chicks? Flamingo milk. Well, it’s not milk as we know it, but it’s a concoction that is made up of proteins, fat, and red and white blood cells that comes from their digestive tracts, and they feed their baby chicks this potion.
American Flamingos are known for being in the Yucatán, so maybe they decided to take a vacation and visit our beautiful seaside town of Puerto Peñasco. Maybe the clean air, clean beaches and the sanctuary lured them in. The pictures in this article are taken by Pablo Guzman who works over at Isla Del Mar. Thank you Pablo for sharing your pics!
Let’s go Flamingo’s fly on in, we are waiting!
Flamingo wisdom works well in Rocky Point:
Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet, spend time with your flamboyance, stand out in a crowd, find your balance, and always be fabulous!
Research from: Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoo News.