The Greater Flamingo is the largest of all species. The colouring of them is the main difference for telling them apart. One is very bright red in colour and lives along the coast of the West Indies and even into Florida. Those with the pinker colouring are found residing in Africa and East India. This particular species of Flamingo has the most diversified habitat in the wild of all of them.
During the colder times of the year, many of the Great Flamingos in Asia migrate to warmer climates. They generally end up in either Iran or India. They won’t migrate through until the weather turns bad so when the season is a mild one they may not end up migrating at all. Due to global warming, their migration patterns seem to be getting shorter and shorter.
They communicate vocally with a type of honking that is very similar to the sounds that geese make. Living in extremely large colonies, they are able to use these sounds as well as non-verbal forms of communication to engage with each other. They don’t like their natural environment to be disrupted by noise, people, or other animals though. This can create high levels of stress for them to deal with.
GREATER FLAMINGO REPRODUCTION
Greater Flamingos build their nests in pairs. Nests are made out of the hardened mud with a shallow depression in the top, although a small pile of stones and debris, lined with grass, twigs and feathers, is used if mud is not available. One of the pairs stands over the nest site and drags mud between its webbed feet with its curved bill. The mud is then pressed into place with the bill and feet. The nest of each mating pair is situated approximately 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) from neighbouring nests so the chick remains safe from other breeding pairs.
GREATER FLAMINGO CONSERVATION STATUS
The Greater Flamingo is classed as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN. Although flamingos are numerous and believed to be increasing in some areas, the Greater Flamingo is vulnerable to changes or disturbance to its relatively limited number of breeding sites. Breeding success is often reduced as a result of human disturbance or lowering water levels, which can increase the salinity of feeding sites and so affect food resources.
Climate change and its potential effects on sea level and rainfall may, therefore, have a serious impact on breeding sites in the future. The Greater Flamingo breeds quite well in captivity and breeding populations are currently maintained at various locations.
Flamingos feed by stirring up mud with their feet. Then they reach down and scoop up a beakful of mud and water. Their beaks are designed to strain animals out of the mud, and the muddy water is expelled. This happens as the flamingo’s head is upside-down.