It’s impossible not to spot a flamingo with its unique characteristics. Famous for their bright pink color, S-shaped neck, and slender legs, this bird species is easily one of the most popular attractions in zoos.
Anyone who would see them up close will be amazed by how mesmerizing they look with their vibrant appearance. While some are only lucky to see them in zoos, those who live in tropical areas are fortunate to see them now and then.
Here we will discuss where flamingos can usually be found, plus whole other trivia about one of the most ancient bird species in the world.
All About Flamingos
With the scientific name Phoenicopteriformes, flamingos are usually about 90 to 150 cm (3 to 5 ft) tall and weigh around 8.75 lbs. They are omnivores who love munching on shrimp, snails, fishes, algae, blue-green algae, and mollusks, among others. Their mix of bright pink, red, and orange colors usually comes from the food they eat from the wildlife, which contains carotenoid pigments.
One thing people would notice from flamingos is how they stand on one leg while on water. According to studies, this is their way to conserve body heat since having both legs in the water would lower their body temperature which could be bad for their health. Thanks to their webbed feet, flamingos can also run on the water before flying into the sky.
A flamingo’s natural habitat varies on the species. But something in common about them are they are found in saline lakes that do not usually have vegetation. Unlike other bird species, they can be spotted quite far from the land.
Where Do Flamingos Live In The World
In general, flamingos are found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate locations that are near water and rainforests. Others are referred to as rainforest flamingo who often flock on the edges of the amazon rainforests. But the greater number of flamingos are found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, America, Africa, and Europe.
According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), there are six different species of flamingos in the world namely greater flamingos, lesser flamingos, Chilean flamingos, Caribbean flamingos, Andean flamingos, and James flamingos. (Read Are Hippos Faster Than Horses)
This particular species is the most widespread among the six. They are usually found in Africa, the Middle East, southern Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. They mostly inhabit relatively shallow water bodies like saline lagoons, saline lakes, salt pans, and estuaries.
Greater flamingos also usually travel in groups who often travel to search for resources that are enough for their whole flock.
The smallest among all the species, the lesser flamingo is usually found in the coastal and inland wetlands of sub-Saharan Africa and India. Unlike the greater flamingos, they do not travel but they often come in big colonies – to as many as 1 million birds in one colony.
Chilean flamingos are native to the temperate areas of South America such as Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. There are also reported colonies of this species in Germany, the Netherlands, Utah, and California. They usually live in muddy, shallow, and alkaline lakes.
Also referred to as American flamingos or rosy flamingos, Caribbean flamingos are closely related to the species of greater flamingo and Chilean flamingo. As its name indicates, this type of flamingo is usually found in some parts of the Caribbean islands. They also inhabit South America’s north coast as well as the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Unlike other species, Caribbean flamingos are only native to North America. They can be spotted in freshwater and saline areas such as lagoons, and coastal, and inland lakes.
Considered to be the rarest flamingo in the world, Andean flamingos are one of the three species that are found in the high Andes in South America. They usually inhabit highland salt lakes, but often migrate in lower wetlands during the winter season. They also hop between lagoons and ponds throughout the year.
James flamingos are considered to be the rarest species among all six and are found in the plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. They usually live in colonies and are often found among flocks of the Chilean and Andean species. (Read Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potato Peels)
Why Flamingos Migrate
Flamingos are not migratory birds but the changes in climate and water levels force them to travel from one area to another. This is why some species’ colonies can be seen flying to a different area apart from where they are usually found.
Here are some of the factors why flamingos migrate:
The Freezing Weather
It’s no question that flamingos love the water because it’s why they usually hang out and find food. So, when winter comes and the body of water where they inhabit freezes, they seek other areas. The best examples would be the Andean flamingos that live in highland salt lakes, and migrate to lower areas once winter hits.
The Change in Water Levels
Like the freezing weather, flamingos also cannot stand drought. So, when they encounter their usual habitat drying up, they tend to migrate to areas where they can find food. Water levels rising high also hinder them from wading in and breeding in, so they also most likely migrate to bodies of water they feel most comfortable with.
The Presence of Humans and Predators
Humans and flamingos don’t exactly make a good combo. When flamingos notice changes in the areas where they usually hang out, such as people turning water into land, flamingos migrate to where they feel safe. This also applies to predators who take over water areas where flamingos are forced to migrate to a safer place.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have unanswered questions about flamingos, this information might help:
When do flamingos migrate?
Flamingos usually migrate at night. They can travel to as far as 600 km (373 mi) in a single night with an average speed of 50 to 60 kph. (Read Double Yolk Eggs Superstition)
Where do flamingos migrate?
There are no specific areas where flamingos migrate, but they most likely move to more favorable habitats such as salt lakes with the sufficient water level.
Do flamingos live in the jungle?
No, flamingos do not live in the jungle. They prefer areas near bodies of water.
Do flamingos live in the rainforest?
Yes, two species of flamingo that inhabit the rainforest: the Andeans and the James. However, they can only be found in the outskirts of rainforests where they are still near bodies of water such as lakes.
Where can I find flamingos?
Depending on the area you live in, you can find flamingos in muddy and salty waterways. If you’re from the United States, particularly near Florida, you can refer to the list below for places where flamingo live in.
Where To Find Flamingos in America
Flamingos might be more prevalent in tropical and subtropical areas, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have the chance to see them up close. In Florida, there are already quite a several places where you can see this gorgeous species. Check out some of these places:
The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
At the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, not only will you have the chance to see flamingos up close, but you can also mingle with them! You will have the opportunity to meet the famous Caribbean flamingo couple, Rhett and Scarlett.
One of the oldest botanical gardens in Florida, this roadside attraction is home to many American flamingos. It also takes care of James the flamingo which celebrates its birthday every year.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
If you dream of getting close to flamingos, the Sarasota Jungle Gardens allow you to hand-feed flamingos! If you’re afraid to feed them, these flamingos roam around the area so you can just say hi to them once you see them stroll around the area.
Discovery Cove Orlando
One of the most exciting areas in Discovery Cove is where you can mingle with flamingos and have the opportunity to feed them. There are also other animals you can meet up close in the park, so you’ll get the best bang for your buck!
Now that you’ve learned everything about flamingos, it’s safe to say you now know where you can find the best. They might not be as common and as easy to find as other bird species, but they sure are worth the drive.
So, if you’re planning to go on an adventure with your family and friends, bookmark the areas where you can find and mingle with them – we’re sure you’ll have the best time with these gorgeous species!