Common Name: American Flamingo
Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus ruber
Species: P. ruber
In kingdom animalia there is a species that you may know very well. It’s scientific name is Phoenicopterus ruber. Phoenicopterus stands for crimson winged while ruber stands for red. But I think most of you know this fine organism as the Caribbean flamingo or also the American flamingo. You may have seen this magnificent creature in the zoo or even on your neighbor’s lawn. Some may think that the Caribbean flamingo is just modeled from the famous plastic pink flamingo on your aunt’s porch. But what I am about to tell will give you a different view on this bird.
When thinking of flamingo of a flamingo most would picture a big red or pink bird, with a small head, long neck and legs. That is true, in fact that’s what they were named for, their glorious red and pink wings. They are also one of the largest and brightest of all flamingos. Did you know they were white when they were mere chicks? They actually get their color by their diet. There diet includes the following of algae, diatoms, and some small aquatic organisms, one example would be shrimp. As many of you know they are found in most lagoons and lakes. So many of you probably know they live there, but did you know they lived in warm and tropical places to? Well if you didn’t well know you know.
Weirdly enough the Caribbean flamingo has a small amount of predators. Mostly because they live in remote places and only eat the small marine organisms. Humans present their biggest threat. Throughout the years they were hunted for their tongues, which was considered a rare delicacy when pickled. But not only their tongues but their rich vibrant feathers, also known as plumage for decoration. Now thanks to many people they are far from extinction. But like many animals exploitation and a destroyed habitat are the greatest to overcome.
Did you know that the word flamingo means red goose in Portuguese? It was known for there flight formation and color. Also that the flamingos are a very old group of birds with skeletons dating back to 10 million years ago! Flamingos actually rely on their coloring to breed. Why? Because it attracts attention to their potential mates! Can you imagine sleeping on 1 leg? The flamingos did ! Also they live up to 20 or 30 years. Some of you may not know this, but thousands of years ago the Egyptians used the flamingo a symbol for the color red.
As you have read the flamingos are very interesting organisms. They are peaceful so don’t have many enemies. Also use their color for attracting mates. They sleep on one foot and have a nest of mud. So I hope you think differently of them now.
Author: Anna D.
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SeaWorld Education Department Publication. Flamingos: Sea World, Inc. 1994