Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Chilean Flamingo

Phoenicopterus chilensis

The Chilean flamingo is smaller and paler than most of its relatives, and is accustomed to a more temperate climate than Caribbean flamingos. These birds are native to South America and may even inhabit high altitude lakes in the Andes Mountains.

Range & Habitat

Chilean flamingos are found in South America in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, with some wintering in Uruguay and Brazil.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened

There are no more than 200,000 Chilean flamingos in the wild. Their population is declining due to habitat loss and degradation, harvesting and human disturbance.

Diet

In the Wild -- Algae, diatoms, brine flies, shrimp, mollusks, insects, small fishes, crustaceans and larvae.

At the Zoo -- Mazuri flamingo pellets.

Life Span

Up to 50 years.

Fun Facts about the Chilean Flamingo

  • Flamingos get their pink coloring from a carotenoid pigment consumed through their food.
  • Flamingos belong to one of the oldest bird groups alive. Their fossil records date back to the Miocene period about 10 million years ago.
  • Their bill is adapted for their unique feeding method. They hold it upside down in the water and move it back and forth, filtering out minute organisms through special comb-like adaptations, essentially using it as a sieve.

Sources

Busch Entertainment Corporation, Chilean flamingo. Retrieved October 27, 2006, from SeaWorld/Busch Gardens ANIMALS Web site: http://www.seaworld.org/infobooks/flamingos/

Phoenix Zoo (2006). Chilean flamingo phoenicopterus chilensis. Retrieved October 25, 2006. Web site: http://www.phoenixzoo.org/learn/animals/animal_detail.aspx?FACT_SHEET_ID=100009

San Francisco Zoo (2006). Animals chilean flamingo phoenicopterus chilensis. Retrieved October 27, 2006. Web site: http://www.sfzoo.org/cgi-bin/animals.py?ID=28

Updated February 3, 2021
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