How I have enjoyed the amazing tropical birds here in Florida this winter! Last weekend, while visiting the Sarasota Jungle Gardens with my family, we enjoyed a show featuring exotic birds – Macaws and Cockatoos; encountered a white peacock (see below the close-up shot of his lacy tail feathers); and delighted in photographing at very close range the lovely flamingos - talk about “…things bright and beautiful”!!!
Interesting flamingo facts:
♥ Flamingos are generally placed in their own order – Phoenicopteriformes – and recent molecular and anatomical studies have suggested they are related to grebes.
♥ The coloration of flamingo adults ranges from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly colored and thus a more desirable mate.
♥ Flamingos “filter-feed” on brine shrimp and blue-green algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the shrimp and algae, and are uniquely utilized upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and
the large rough-surfaced tongue.
♥ Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other tucked beneath the body, which recent research has indicated may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading
in cold water.
♥ Flamingos, in glands lining the whole of the upper digestive tract, produce what is known as “crop milk;” and both parents nurse their chicks for about two months until the chicks’ bills are developed enough
to filter feed.
♥ Flamingo tongues were considered a delicacy in Ancient Rome, and ancient Egyptians believed flamingos to be the living representation of the god, Ra.
For more fascinating facts, consult the Flamingo Resources website.