American flamingos can be found in the Caribbean islands, Southern Mexico, and the Northern coasts of South America. A small population can also be found on the Galapagos Islands. They live in freshwater and marine lagoons, lakes, rivers, and mudflats.
These flamingos live in huge flocks which consist of thousands of members. Within the flock or colony, the flamingos become territorial when foraging for food. They won’t allow any other flamingo within their little territory if they’ve found some good food. There are places where no flamingo can claim a territory, such as drinking places. Here, flamingos are free to socialize with one another.
Flamingos do migrate, but not as far as many other birds do. They usually move as a flock when they run out of food in a particular location. They make the migration at night. Flamingos also fly to a new location as a flock if they feel threatened. They are very vocal and call to one another to warn of dangers. Sometimes they are mistaken for geese while in flight because of their honking.
A big portion of a flamingo’s day is spent eating. Their diet consists of algae, shrimp, insects and worms, and mollusks. They forage with their heads upside down to suck water and food into their mouth and then expel the water from the sides of their beak, leaving just the food.
Flamingos are monogamous. Both parents participate in building the nest and lay usually one egg. Both parents take turns incubating the egg over the course of about a month. Chicks begin their lives with straight beaks and grey feathers. After hatching, the chick remains in the nest for just a week or two before joining the rest of the chicks in a creche. The chicks in the creche are raised by all flamingos in the colony. The chicks develop their flight feathers when they are a little over two months old but don’t become fully mature until they are three to five years old.
Although American flamingos are threatened by deforestation and the destruction of their wetland habitats, there is happy news. They are currently listed as under Least concern for extinction and their populations are actually increasing in the wild!
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