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  Flamingo Pictures

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Flamingo
Flamingo
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More About Flamingos ...
Flamingos (genus Phoenicopterus monotypic in family Phoenicopteridae) are gregarious wading birds, usually 3-5 feet in height, found in both the western and eastern hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter, but there are four species in the Americas against two in the Old World. Flamingos live in large flocks in aquatic areas.

The larger species breed and feed in saline or brackish habitats. Nests are made of compacted mud and are in the form of a mound with a concave top, into which the single white egg is laid.

Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue.

The young hatch with white plumage, but the feathers of a flamingo in adulthood range from light pink to bright red, due to carotenoids obtained from their food supply. All flamingos have 12 black flight feathers in each wing.

Flamingos produce a “milk” like pigeon milk (see Columbidae). It contains more fat and less protein than the latter does, and it is produced in glands lining the whole of the upper digestive tract, not just the crop. Young flamingos feed on this milk for about two months until their bills are developed enough to filter feed. The milk also contains red and white blood cells.

Colorful Courtship Ceremonies
When the morning sun rises over the jade-green waters of the lake, it is as if a giant curtain were lifted. The golden light reveals a vast flock of flamingos glowing like flames of fire on the lake surface. The birds are packed in tightly. With their necks extended upright, the displaying birds march in groups, tossing their beaks from side to side.

As platoons of birds march past one another in opposite directions, the sun reflects on the birds' delicate feathers, forming a mosaic of contrasting shades of scarlet and pink. The birds bob and dance, spreading their wings wide to reveal the deep red of their wing feathers. Flaunting their vibrant colors, they run across the water and take to the air, only to land again and repeat the ritual. The flamingos are so densely packed that individual birds cannot take to flight but must wait until those on the edge of the flock take off first. Honking and babbling with excitement, they produce a clamor that is deafening.

Classification
Flamingos are related to other large wading birds as follows:

Order Ciconiiformes
Family Cochlearidae, (Boatbill)
Family Balaenicipitidae, (Shoebill)
Family Scopidae, (Hammerkop)
Family Ciconiidae, (storks)
Family Threskiornithidae, (ibises and spoonbills)
Family Phoenicopteridae (sometimes classed as an order Phoenicopteriformes.)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Africa, southern Asia and southern Europe.
Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor), mainly in southern Africa, but the most numerous species.
James's Flamingo (Phoenicopterus jamesi) northern Andes
Andean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus), southern Andes
Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), most widespread South American flamingo.
Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), until recently considered a subspecies of Greater Flamingo. It breeds in the Caribbean and once inhabited Florida,
Family Ardeidae, (herons, egrets, and bitterns)
Taxonmony
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Phoenicopteridae
Source: Wikipedia Read more about Flamingos
PICTURES (Click to enlarge)
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