Greater Flamingo chicks are starting to hatch at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The eggs nestled safely in the mud mounds are one-by-one beginning to reveal their contents, and the Zoo is excited to share pics of the first few fluffy hatchlings.
The Greater Flamingo is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is native to parts of Africa, southern Asia (Bangladesh and coastal regions of Pakistan and India), Israel, and southern Europe.
The Greater Flamingo is the largest species of flamingo and averages 43 to 60 inches tall and a weight of 4.4 to 8.8 lbs.
The bird prefers to reside in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. The Greater Flamingo feeds with the head down. Their upper jaw is movable and not fixed to the skull. Using their feet, they stir up mud, then suck water through their bill and filter out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks.
When nesting, they lay a single egg on a mound of mud. Most of their plumage is pink and white, but the wing coverts are red, with black along primary and secondary flight feathers. Their bill is pink with a black tip, and their legs are entirely pink. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish-grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into adult life. The bird’s coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds.
The Greater Flamingo is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.