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Common Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) Eng. Flamingo


Common flamingo - a large wetland bird (weight up to 3.5-4.4 kg) with very long legs and neck and a large curved beak. When taking off, it runs through shallow water 5-6 m. In flight it stretches its neck and legs, forming the shape of a cross. The voice is a lingering, low gaggling. Beware.

Spread. The nearest flamingo nests are in Northern Kazakhstan. A number of flights are known for the region, including massive ones. In the late autumn of 1907, in early November, in a large area of ​​Western and Central Siberia - from Lake Vats and Semipalatinsk in the west, to Kansk in the east - there was a massive migration of flamingos to the north. Some birds flew north to Yeniseisk (Tugarinov, 1909).

In the Minusinsk depression in 1907, a flock of 6 flamingos was found 50 versts from Minusinsk, at the village. Beloyarova on the river Tube, one of them - a severely emaciated adult bird - was caught alive. One flamingo was caught on the tube at the village. Kuraginoy, another - 50 miles south of this village. Two adult birds were caught in the Minusinsk district on the Yenisei. AND I. Tugarinov also reports on several finds that fall in the Minusinsk depression, including at the village. Altai in the south of the Abakan steppe and at the Lake of God in Achinsk district - a young bird was caught here.

In the late autumn of 1911, single flamingos reappeared in the Minusinsk depression, on November 17, two young birds were kept at the Minusinsk Museum. In the spring of 1912 P.P. Sushkin was informed that in early May of this year, flamingos were seen along Abakan, near Askiz (Sushkin, 1914). The closest known flamingo nests in those days were in the Turgai and Akmola regions. In adjacent territories in the fall of 1920, two adult flamingos were found on the river. A worm in the Verkhneobsky Bor, 35 km from the Ust-Charyshsky pier, one bird was caught (Zalessky, 1931). It is possible that in subsequent years flamingos flew to the south of the region also periodically, but information about this was not preserved.

In 1980 and 1981 in Khakassia, flies of this species were again noted (Prokofiev, 1987). In September 1980, a weakened young bird was picked up in the Uybat steppe; in the same year in August, fishermen met four flamingos at the mouth of the river. Tuba. In 1981, also in August, three flamingos were discovered on a small lake in the Shirin steppe. In June 1983, two flamingos were found in the Troitsky Bay of the Krasnoyarsk reservoir, and in September of the same year, another flamingo was seen in the swamp in the middle mountains of the Kuznetsk Alatau on the territory of the Verkhneeyeisky Sanctuary (Vershinka tract) (Prokofiev (personal communication)). In the early 80s, one flamingo froze on Podkamennaya Tunguska, near the village. Kuzmovka (scarecrow sent to Tura).

In the winter of 1986, several young flamingos were met again within the region: on November 9, residents of the village picked one. Thea of ​​the North Yenisei region, another freezing bird was selected in early December in the Ermakovsky district, another flamingo lived for more than two weeks on about. Tatysheva in Krasnoyarsk, transferring frosts to - 25 ° C. Perhaps one of the reasons for the last flights was the hurricane winds preceding them in Northern Kazakhstan. In 1983, single birds kept during September-December on an ice-free section of the river. Yenisei is 5-10 km higher than the city of Abakan (Sunchugashev, Prokofiev, 1991). November 7, 1997 on the Yenisei near the village. Dodonovo was caught a young exhausted bird.

On October 24, 2000, a young individual was caught in Sosnovoborsk, which was placed in the zoo in Krasnoyarsk.

Habitat. Islands of large shallow salt and brackish lakes, sea bays, as well as shallow waters, often drying out by the end of summer (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1995).

Number. Flamingos are everywhere a rare bird with a declining population (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1995).

Breeding. Breeds in colonies. Nests - conical columns of hardened silt with a truncated top and a bowl-shaped recess-tray at the top. Clutch - 1-3 olive green eggs covered with white calcareous sag. Birds sit on their nests with their legs crossed (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1995).

Nutrition. Flamingos get food in water, in shallow water, filtering water through their beaks. It feeds on crustaceans, mollusks, and algae. If there is little feed, they can make long-distance flights daily to more feed reservoirs (for 30-40 and even 50-60 km) (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1995).

Security measures taken. Hunting for flamingos as a species included in the Red Book of the USSR is prohibited everywhere. A large fine will be levied for his shooting or destruction (in protected areas of various ranks and for the destruction of a flamingo nest - a threefold fine). Listed in Appendix II of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and in the List of Species of the Russian-Indian Convention on the Protection of Migratory Birds (1984) (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1995, Syroechkovsky et al., 2000) .


Russian name - Pink (ordinary) flamingo
Latin name - Phoenicopterus roseus
English name - Greater flamingo
Class - Birds (Aves)
Detachment - Flamingo-like (Phoenicopteriformes)
Family - Flaming (Phoenicopteridae)
Kind - Flamingos (Phoenicopterus)

Until recently, pink and red flamingos were considered subspecies of the same species; at present, they are distinguished as independent species.

Conservation status

At present, the danger of extinction is not threatened by the species, but its number is unstable. It is listed in the International Red Book as causing the least concern in the next 10 years - IUCN (LC), and is also included in the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - CITES II.
In Russia it is a non-nesting, span and regularly flying appearance. As a rare species, pink flamingo is listed in the Red Books of Russia and Kazakhstan.
The reason for the decline in numbers is a reduction in nesting sites and a disturbance factor.


Flamingos cannot be confused with any other bird of the structural features of the body and the amazing color of the plumage. These are quite large birds (height 120–145 cm, weight 2100–4100 g, wingspan cm), with females smaller than males and slightly shorter-legged. The head of a flamingo is small, the beak is massive and in the middle part is steeply (knee-shaped) bent down. The jaw apparatus is highly specialized in filtering water in search of small feed. Horn plates are located in the beak, on which various phyto- and zooplankton (small animals and plants living in the water column) settle during feeding.
The legs of the flamingos are very long, 4 toes on their feet, with the three front legs connected by a swimming membrane. The back toe is small and is located above the foot. A thin neck in a calm state is curved in the form of the letter S. The plumage of these birds is loose and soft. Flamingos swim well, however, their feathers get wet, and the birds prefer not to go to deep-sea places.
Flamingos often settle on saline lakes and filter out salt water fodder. They also drink brackish, or alkaline water. However, “salinization” of the body does not threaten them - these birds have well-developed salt-eliminating glands.
The color of plumage is, the ends of the wings are black. The pink color of the plumage is due to the presence in the tissues of pigments - fat-like dyes of the carotenoid group. These substances are obtained by birds from food, from various crustaceans. In captivity, after 1–2 years, the shade of plumage usually disappears from a monotonous diet. But if you specifically add red carotenoids contained in carrots and beets to flamingos, the color of the birds always remains saturated. Young birds, an adult outfit, they "put on" only in the third year of life.

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Lifestyle & Social Behavior

Flamingo is characterized by daytime activity, at night these birds sleep.
Flamingos are strictly colonial birds: they nest and feed in large groups. The distance between the nests and lactating or resting birds can be only a few centimeters. On nesting birds protect only the nest itself.
Between the birds living in such a “communal” apartment, interactions that look like “quarrels” are periodically observed: flamingos begin to gargle loudly, standing opposite each other and fluffing feathers. "Quarrels" stop as suddenly as they began, the birds remain in their places and continue to do their own thing.
When the flock feeds or rests, individual birds are on their guard, which allows the entire flock to avoid danger in time. Flamingos suffer to a greater extent not from predators, but from the vicissitudes of the climate (drought, floods) and the unpredictable hydraulic regime of water bodies.
In the northern part of the spread of flamingos are migratory. The main part of the Kazakh population winters in the Krasnovodsk and Kyzylagach nature reserves, and some birds fly to Iran for the winter.

Nutrition and feed behavior

The basis of pink flamingos is made up of small reddish crustacean Artemia and its eggs. In addition, flamingos feed on other crustaceans, as well as mollusks, insect larvae, and worms. They are looking for food in shallow areas. Flamingos can feed on the same pond where they nest, but if there is little feed, they can make long-distance flights to fodder ponds daily (for 30–40 and even 50–60 km).
Having entered the water, the birds stomp their feet, slightly swirling silt, and then filter this suspension with their beaks. When feeding in shallow water, birds lower their heads so that the beak is below the surface of the water, and the beak is above it. Turning his head in different directions, and using his tongue acting like a piston, flamingos filter water and silt. At great depths, the whole head, and sometimes the neck to the shoulders, is immersed in water.
They drink flamingos in brackish and fresh water during rain, licking droplets of water running down the plumage.


Flamingos nest in large colonies of up to 20,000 pairs (in India - up to 2,000,000 pairs). Nesting in separate pairs is unknown. Nesting preference is given to highly saline and alkaline lakes, often with a high content of caustic soda, gypsum and hydrogen sulfide. Lakes off the coast are covered with salty or gypsum crust, under which there is liquid mud. Flamingos make nests from this mud and shell rock, which rise above the water like high bumps. Their shape resembles a truncated cone, and the height is more than half a meter.
Flamingos are monogams, they can form pairs for both one season and several years. Courtship is accompanied by loud screams, ritual poses with spread wings and ruffled feathers, as well as group ceremonial runs with high lifting legs and sudden stops. The mating ritual is strictly species-specific, therefore, even if the colony is formed by several types of flamingos, mixed pairs are not formed and hybrids are unknown.
In clutch 1-2 large white eggs. Both partners take part in incubation and feeding of chicks. Incubation lasts 27–33 days, and in hot places it most likely turns into protection of the masonry from overheating. Chicks hatch covered with down, sighted and with a direct beak. By the time of hatching from the eggs of the chicks, the goiter of the parents is approximately tripled. A sour cream-like mass, the so-called goiter milk, begins to stand out from the goiter, which is a mixture of semi-digested crustaceans, aquatic insect larvae and secretions of the walls of the goiter itself. It is the color of the presence of carotenoids in it with the addition of approximately one hundredth of the blood of lactating birds, in composition resembling colostrum of mammals. Parents burp this "bird milk" and feed them chicks from beak to beak.
The chicks leave the nest a few days after hatching and at about one month of age they change the first down dress to the second. At the age of weeks, the beak of a small flamingo, which was straight when hatching, begins to bend. Downy chicks that have already left the nest and left without parents for some time, who have flown away to feed, are grouped and are under the supervision of several “on-duty carers” who have remained in their place. Returning from feeding, adult birds feed the chicks burping food from goiter.
Feathers of the chicks begin to grow in the second month, and young people acquire the ability to fly on the day of life, at the same age they finally form the filter apparatus. The coloration of young birds remains gray for a long time, only in the third year of life does it acquire a bright, characteristic for flamingo color. They become adults at the age of 3-4 years, start reproduction for a year of life.

Zoo life story

Flamingos are represented in collections of zoos of the world very widely - the bird is cute, expositional, and it is easy to keep. In the history of the Moscow Zoo, they were almost always. Most flamingos on display are red. A little pink - these are elderly birds who arrived at the zoo even before the reconstruction of the years. In our zoo, pink flamingos are kept together with red ones. Birds of different species do not conflict, but do not form mixed pairs.
The flamingo diet includes the maximum that we can offer them. This is grated carrots, minced fish, dry gammarus, a special high-protein compound feed with the necessary vitamins and minerals. All this food is poured with water, and from this liquid mixture the birds filter out what they need. We give liquid feed once a day, and dry compound feed is constantly available. In the zoo, it is impossible to provide the same content of carotenoids in the feed as they consume in nature, so we add food carotene to their feed.
The difficulty in the content of flamingos is the selection of food - so that it has balanced vitamins and protein content.
In summer, flamingos are kept in an open aviary on the Big Pond, in winter - in a warm room adjacent to this aviary, where they are perfectly visible behind the glass. We transfer birds to a warm room at temperatures close to zero - when night frosts begin.