Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fabulous Flamingos!


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.

7 comments:

  1. Riley and I spent a long time watching the flamingoes at the Nashville Zoo on Sunday and I was amazed with their beauty! Now I know a lot more about them! Thanks!

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  2. Flamingo's are so beautiful. The white peacock must have been an extraordinary sight!

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  3. Such beautiful creatures. I have never seen one in person, but would love to someday experience that.
    Maureen

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  4. Your photos are fabulous. I learned something this morning too about flamingos. Enjoy your vacation.

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  5. Dear Cassandra, I note that you are on holiday again!! And, what marvellous flamingo photographs. Their pink colour makes them look so exotic and perfectly displayed against the azure blue of the sky.

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  6. Oh how interesting! We've got a couple here in town at Butterfly Gardens, such a treat to see them!

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