Lesser Flamingo

Lesser flamingos are the smallest of the four flamingoes, but they retain the characteristic flamingo shape with long legs, a long neck, a bent bill, and a large body. They are not as brightly colored as the Caribbean flamingo, but they still have the light pink feathers with black feathers on their wings. Like all flamingos, the Lesser flamingo has webbed feet, but unlike the Andean and James’ flamingos, it has a hind toe called a “hallux”.

Food

The Lesser flamingo eats by holding its bill upside-down in the water and using its tongue to suck in water and mud. Filters in their mouth catch algae, small insects, and crustaceans for food.

Habitat

Lesser flamingoes live in brackish or salty lakes and lagoons in southern Africa.

Predators

The eggs and chicks of the Lesser flamingo are preyed upon by the marabou stork, lappet-faced vulture, white-headed vulture, and Egyptian vulture. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, and jackals prey upon adults, and even pythons have also been known to attack flamingos.

Social Structure

Flamingos are very gregarious birds, having large, noisy nesting colonies and monogamous relationships.

Birth & Offspring

Flamingos built a nest of mud approximately 12 inches high to serve as protection from flooding. Females lay a single chalk-colored egg that is attended by both parents. The chicks are gray with thick gray legs and a straight bill.

Senses

Eyesight plays an important role is group activities. Flamingos use various techniques of flashing the black feathers on their wings to communicate with each other. Hearing is also important and heavily relied upon for communication between adults and between chicks and their parents. Flamingos have a very poor sense of taste and no sense of smell.

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