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Phoenicopteridae: flamingos

Phoenicopteridae: flamingos

The Phoenicopteridae family is made up of six species of flamingos. These include the Caribbean flamingo, the Chilean flamingo, the lesser flamingo, the Andean flamingo, the James flamingo and the greater flamingo. The Caribbean flamingo is reddish pink in color and the brightest member of this family. It is found in the lagoons that are in the Caribbean, Galapagos Islands, South and Central America. It is also common in saltwater lakes that are found in these areas.

The Chilean flamingo is mainly found in Argentina. The specific areas where you can find this species include saltwater marshes and lagoons. This flamingo can also be found in Argentina. The tallest Chilean flamingo is 5 feet tall. It is pale pink in color and the wing feathers are black in color.

The Lesser flamingo is smaller at 3 feet tall. In addition to saltwater lakes, it is also found in alkaline areas. This flamingo’s habitat is in Africa, specifically the eastern and central parts of the continent. The flamingo is pale pink and its wing feathers are black in color.

The Andean flamingo is found in Peru, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. It is found in alkaline and saltwater conditions that are in these countries. The James flamingo is also short at only 3 feet tall. It is also found in many countries in South America. The greater flamingo is the largest species in the Phoenicopteridae family. It is stand 5 feet tall. Sometimes members of the Greater flamingo species are even taller.

The East African Rift Valley provides a very good habitat for flamingos. The Tanzanian Ngongoro crater is one of the best habitats of flamingos in the East African region. Every time of the year, huge flocks of these colorful animals can be seen in Lakes Nakuru and Bogoria in the neighboring Kenya. The flamingos found in these two lakes are Lesser Flamingos. They are smaller, have darker bills and their plumage is pinker.

Feeding habits

The Greater Flamingo, with its pink bills love filtering shrimp found in briny solutions. Their bills have black tips and are mainly found in areas that have shallow waters that reach down into the deeper recesses of lakes and oceans. Generally, all flamingos have a feeding behavior that is unique among all birds. Their habits are very close to that of baleen whales.

The Lesser flamingos love feeding on green algae. They also like diatoms that are found at the bottom of shallow waters. Therefore, the Greater flamingos and the lesser flamingos never find themselves locked in an unhealthy competition for food. All flamingos found outside Africa feed on snails and brine-fly larvae in shallow coastal waters.


According to recent studies, grebes are the closest relatives of flamingoes, which continue to live today.

Geographical range

Studies show the feeding habits which are common between these two species. It is also worth noting that whereas the Lesser Flamingo has its presence only in Africa, the Greater Flamingo is very commonly seen in Spain, France and part of the Persian Gulf.

Lesser Flamingos in their natural habitat in Lake Nakuru, Kenya