Monday, November 29, 2010

Caribbean flamingo

Caribbean flamingo
Phoencopterus ruber ruber

Habitat: North and South America; mud flats, shallow lakes, and salt lagoons

Food source: Filter feed on algae, crustaceans, seeds, small fish, insects, and mollusks

Interesting facts: Both male and female flamingos produce crop milk which is used to feed the juvenile flamingos while they are young. Flamingos typically only lay one egg at a time.

Recent research: There has always been a common question surrounding the way that flamingos rest. Flamingos are known for resting on one leg. The common question is: Why do the flamingos only stand on one leg and not two. Recently studies (Anderson 2009) have found that resting on one leg may help the flamingos in thermoregulation.

Because flamingos are filter feeders, they heavily rely on the health of their beak and tongue to survive. Another fairly recent study (Hammer 2007) showed that if flamingos eat foods that are too greasy, they can have a build-up that will hinder their filter feeding ability.

Anderson, Matthew J. and Sarah A. Williams. “Why do flamingos stand on one leg?” Zoo Biology 29:365-374 (2009).

Hammer, Sven, Simon Jenson, Raffy Borjal, and Marcus Clauss. “Bill impaction in a group of captive Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber).” Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 38(3): 465-470 (2007).


  1. So, the thermal regulation probably occurs when they move their leg close into their body because they are adding more mass close to their body. This would result in better withholding of heat and help them stay warm. I have always thought flamingos are interesting animals.