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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Phoenicopteridae
Genus: Phoeniconaias
Species: minor

Height: 32 inches
Weight: 5 - 6 lbs
Wing span: 37 - 39 inches
Incubation: 26 - 31 days
Offspring: 1
Life Span: 40 - 50 years

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Lesser Flamingo

Phoeniconaias minor

Eating (621 KB)

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".

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.

Lesser flamingoes live in brackishWhat does brackish mean? or salty lakes and lagoons in southern Africa.

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 preyWhat does prey mean? upon adults, and even pythons have also been known to attack flamingos.

Flamingos are very gregariousWhat does gregarious mean? birds, having large, noisy nesting colonies and monogamousWhat does monogamous mean? relationships.

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.

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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