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Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo
Photographer: Aaron Logan

Caribbean Flamingo
Photographer: Aaron Logan

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo Range Map (Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula & Galapagos Islands)
Caribbean Flamingo Range Map (Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula & Galapagos Islands)
Latin Name Phoenicopterus ruber
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, Galapagos Islands
Colour Pink/Red/Orange
Height 1.2 - 1.4 m (3.9 - 4.6 ft)
Wingspan Approx. 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Weight 2.2 - 2.8 Kgs (4.9 - 6.2 lb)
Life Expectancy Up to 40 Yrs (in captivity) 

Main Characteristics

Caribbean Flamingos are the only flamingo to naturally inhabit North America. They stand between 1.2 and 1.4 m (3.9 - 4.6 ft) in height, they have a wingspan of approximately 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and they weigh between 2.2 and 2.8 kgs (4.9 - 6.2 lbs).

They are deep pink/red/orange in colour and they have the brightest plumage of all flamingo species. As young birds they are grey in colour but their plumage slowly turns pink as they mature. They have long, pink legs with their knees being a slightly darker pink.

Their large bill is downward curving and it is pink in colour with a black tip. They have narrow wings with their primary and secondary flight feathers being black in colour and their wing coverts being red.

Caribbean Flamingos have a loud, deep honking call that is similar to that of a goose. They call loudly during courtship but they have a quieter call while they are feeding.


Caribbean Flamingos are found in the lagoons, mudflats and lakes of the Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula and the Galapagos Islands. They are highly social birds and they live in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals.


Caribbean Flamingos feed upon insects, worms, vegetation and algae. They mainly feed during the day and they sweep their bill upside down through shallow water picking up food as they go. They are filter feeders and their tongue pumps up and down, 5 - 6 times per second, pushing the water out of their beak.


Caribbean Flamingos breed in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals and after courtship rituals of synchronized dancing, preening, neck stretching and honking they mate during April and May.

They produce one chalky white egg that is laid on a mud mound in shallow water. The nest of each pair is situated approximately 1.5 m (4.9 ft) from neighbouring nests so the chick remains safe from other breeding pairs. Both parents incubate the egg which takes 27 - 31 days to hatch. They will defend their nest during the breeding season, otherwise they are non-territorial.

After the chick first hatches they are fed a substance called "crop milk" which comes from the parents' upper digestive tract. Either parent can feed the chick this way and other flamingos can act as foster feeders. When the chicks are old enough to walk they gather together in creches that are watched over by a few adult birds. By the time young flamingos reach 3 - 5 years of age they will have reached sexual maturity and gained their full adult plumage.


The main predators of Caribbean Flamingos are jaguars, raccoons, birds of prey, margay and humans .


There are no subspecies of the Caribbean Flamingo.

Interesting Facts

Caribbean Flamingos are closely related to the Greater Flamingo and the Chilean Flamingo.

Caribbean Flamingos are also known as:
Rosy Flamingo
American Flamingo

Flamingo comes from the latin word for flame.

The global population of Caribbean Flamingos is estimated to be between 850,000 and 880,000 individuals.

The flamingo's characteristic pink colouring is caused by the beta carotene in their diet.

Similar Birds

Andean Flamingo
Chilean Flamingo
Greater Flamingo
Lesser Flamingo
Puna Flamingo

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