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Pretty In Pink

The James's Flamingo (Phoenicopterus jamesi), also known as the Puna Flamingo, is a South American flamingo, named for Harry Berkeley James. It breeds on the high Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. It is related to the Andean Flamingo, and the two are often placed in the genus Phoenicoparrus. It is a small and delicate flamingo, approximately 3 feet in height. Its plumage is pale pink, with bright carmine streaks around the neck and on the back. When perched a small amount of black can be seen in the wings. There is bright red skin around the eye. The legs are brick-red and the bill is bright yellow with a black tip. Immature birds are greyish. James's Flamingo is similar to other South American flamingoes, but the Chilean Flamingo is pinker, with a longer bill without yellow, and the Andean Flamingo is larger with more black in the wings and bill, and yellow legs.

Longtime readers of this site already know that I have a certain weakness for strange animals. I’ve always been fascinated by the incredible diversity of life on our tiny world. So far I’ve talked about desert cats, fairy armadillos, penguins, and even sloths. Flamingos don’t seem too odd when listed in their company.

Flamingos are, simply put, an amazing bird. Their most commonly recognized trait is their distinctive pink feathers and shapely long necks. Also, they’re fond of standing on a single leg in ankle deep water. Their upside-down bills are uniquely designed to filter out brine shrimp and algae, and actually act like little shovels. What you probably don’t know about them is much more interesting…

James's Flamingo

Flamingos are extremely social and live in colonies that can number in the thousands.


They tend to form very strong pair bonds and only rarely change mates.

Great Flamingo

Once their chicks are hatched both male and female flamingos take turns feeding them “milk” they both produce.


These birds are expert filter-feeders and have tiny hairlike structures in their beaks that can separate food from water and mud.


If you see a flamingo nesting area DO NOT go near it. They are known to fiercely defend their territory.


They can live a very long time. The oldest known flamingo was 83 years old before it passed away!


Their distinctive coloring comes from all the beta-carotene in their diet.


Without their favored diet they will eventual pale until they become fully white feathered.


The feathers under their wings are black but are usually only visible when they fly.


The flamingos greatest predators are other birds who like to poach their eggs. (No pun intended)

For a look at cute flamingo chicks, check out the video below.


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