Flamingos are wading birds mean they live around water bodies and eat food from them, belonging to the Phoenicopteridae family. These birds are famous due to their pink body color, which they get with the passage of time after their birth. That’s why several people wonder that what makes flamingoes pink? As pink color is not in their DNA. However, if you are also interested in knowing about the secret of the flamingo’s pink color, navigate this article.
However, flamingos become pink due to the high content of red and orange pigment in their food. And you may say that flamingo food has a significant impact on their body. As, they born with the color of white and grey color, without any pinkish color.
Moreover, the intensity of the pink color of the flamingos differs from species to species. As there are four different flamingo species, and all have different pink shades.
What Makes Flamingos Pink?
Flamingos are exciting birds to know due to their unique lifestyle than other birds. As they are wading birds, and get their primary portion of the food from the water. Not only this, they are on the list of few monogamous birds that mate for life.
Moreover, both female and male flamingos incubate their eggs and take care of their babies equally. However, flamingos lay one egg at a time. But as they live in colonies and they all mate at a specific period, that’s why their babies are born at almost the same period, and thus all the babies in a colony grow along with each other.
But the fascinating fact about flamingos is their pink color which they get after their birth with the passage of time. As they born with the white-grey color. But, they get their pink color from the food which they eat.
As their primary food consist of blue, green, and red algae, diatoms, larva, small fishes, shrimps, etc. And both these algae and shrimps have a high content of carotenoid pigments, and this pigment is the actual cause of their pink color.
Moreover, this pigment is also present in carrots and gives them orange and red colors. However, if humans eat too many carrots, their skin color also becomes pinky or orange.
However, algae, which they eat as their primary food, is toxic for other birds, but flamingos have a robust metabolism to digest such food without any issue. And their metabolism when breaking down the carotenoid then their pigment deposited into their skin and hue to give them charming pink color.
Moreover, the intensity of their pink color depends upon the quantity of the food they are used to eat. If flamingos eat algae and shrimp, not as their primary food, they may get a light pink color.
Is Flamingo Poop Pink?
As flamingos get their pink color from the food they eat, then another question arises: is flamingos poop pink? However, it is a common thought that as flamingos get pink color from the food, they can change their poop color.
However, if you think the same way, then let me tell you that this is just a misconception about flamingos. As their poop color is of the same color as the other birds with no pink color.
However, the poop of baby flamingos can be of orange color because their stomachs process the egg yolk, which was their food in the egg.
Why Is Flamingo Milk Pink?
However, as we know that flamingo’s food is the real cause of their pink color. Because the food which they eat as their primary food contain carotenoid pigments, which make a food of red and orange color.
That’s why when they produce crop milk, this milk becomes of pink color due to the presence of carotenoid. As, like many other birds, flamingos also used to produce crop milk to feed their babies.
Because crop milk from parents is the first food for their babies, and this milk is healthy for their babies because crop milk is full of nutrients. And in the case of flamingos, both parents produce crop milk for their babies.
And this milk is of pink color due to the presence of carotenoid pigments. However, there is a myth that flamingo’s crop milk is pink as they drink blood. But this is only a myth, and there is no such reality in this myth.
Why Do Flamingos Turn Blue?
As flamingos are well known because of getting pink color from their food. That’s why many people question that can flamingos turn blue and green if they eat these pigment-rich foods? As the algae they eat can be of green and blue color, then why do they get pink color?
However, the answer to this question is that their body can process only pink pigments rather than any other color. Because of it, flamingos cannot turn into any other color except pink. That’s why you will never saw a flamingo with green or blue color.
Are There Black Flamingos?
As we know that flamingos are born with white-gray color and they get their pink color from the food which they eat. And many people think that if flamingos can turn pink due to their food, why not blue, black, and green.
However, studies show that flamingoes cannot be of any color rather than white and pink. Because white is their natural color and the pink color they get from their food, their body can only process pink color in their food.
But on the internet, you can see black flamingos as well. The question of concern is that how a flamingo gets this color. However, the studies show that such a flamingo has a rare pigmentation condition called melanism, which can turn a flamingo black.
What Do Baby Flamingos Eat?
Like other bird’s babies, flamingo’s young ones are also dependent on their parents when they are born. However, as flamingos live like a family, that’s why both females and males look after their children. And for that, they both produce crop milk to feed their baby.
The crop milk of flamingos is red due to the high carotenoid concentration, and they produce this milk from the upper part of their digestive tract. However, the bird’s crop milk is full of healthy nutrients and vitamins.
And flamingos used to feed baby flamingos this crop milk until they are not able to eat and digest some other food.
Moreover, flamingos make red color milk for their baby, due to which the concentration of carotenoid pigment becomes less in their body. As this pigment causes their pink color, but during the feeding period of crop milk, their pink color faded.
However, they gain this color when they stop making and feeding crop milk to their baby. But this red color crop milk causes the pink hue in baby birds as they grow.
Why Does a Flamingo Eat with Its Head Upside Down?
Flamingos are also on the list of those birds that used to eat with their heads upside down. And this is due to their long neck and mouth structure.
However, they are filter feeders in which their tongue used to serve as a sieve. In which they can keep food inside their mouth while pushing out the water from their mouth. Moreover, flamingos are one of those few animals which can move their upper jaw while eating.
A Final Thought:
Flamingos are not born with pink body color, but they get this color when they grow up. That’s why for several people, it is a matter of concern about what makes flamingos pink? However, you listen to this sentence several times that you are what you eat in your life.
And this sentence holds for flamingos very well because their primary food consists of algae which contain carotenoid pigment. And this pigment is responsible for its pink color.
Not only this, their pink color faded when the concentration of this pigment decreased in their food, and they got sharp pink color when they took a high concentration of carotenoid.
Moreover, their pink color faded for a period when parent flamingos prepare and feed crop milk to their baby. As this milk is red. However, they gain their pink color when they stop making crop milk.
However, many people think that flamingos can turn blue or green if they eat blue or green pigmented food. But this is not true because, according to the studies, a flamingo’s body can only process with pink pigments.