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Animal Data > Flamingo

(Phoenicopterus ruber)

Status Distribution Sexually Mature
Not listed as threatened Alkaline and saline lakes and lagoons of temperate and tropical regions. Marwell's flamingos are from southern Europe and Africa. 3 years
Number of Young Gestation Life Span
1 32 days 30 years

(Click for larger image)

Flamingos may form very large flocks numbering several thousand individuals. The nest is a low cone-shaped mud structure in which the two chalky white eggs are laid. After hatching the nestlings are fed a protein-rich secretion from the adult's crop. The chicks become independent of their parents at around 75 days after hatching.

The Flamingo's bill is highly specialised for filter feeding. The Greater Flamingo sieves minute crustaceans, worms and other small animals from the silty bottom of pools and lakes, whereas the Lesser Flamingo feeds from the surface water. The bills of both species contain many tiny hair-like structures along its inside. Pressure from the tongue pumps water through this 'filter' sieving out the small animals.

Main Features

Curved bill, webbed feet, long legs.Often to be seen standing on one leg. Distinctive pinkish colour.

In Captivity

The flock at Marwell is growing as we have new birds arriving from other collections. To prevent the birds escaping from their enclosure the wings are pinioned (clipped). Several metres inside the public barrier there is an electric fence to act as a deterrent to any night intruders such as foxes.

The Flamingoes are fed a manufactured diet similar to that used in commercial trout fisheries. A special additive is included to help maintain the birds colour. This substance, carotenoid, would be obtained naturally from the diet in the wild.

©2009 Marwell Wildlife