Phoenicopterus ruber Linnaeus, 1758, Bahamas. Two subspecies: P.r. ruber and P.r. roseus.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Caribbean, West Indian flamingo, rosy flamingo; French: Flamant rose; German Rosaflamingo; Spanish: Flamenco Comъn.
47–57 in (120–145 cm) 4.6–9.0 lb (2.1–3.4 kg); female approximately 10–20% smaller than male. Largest of the flamingos, adults are rosy red (Caribbean population) or whitish tinged with pink (European-African-Asian population) with brighter pink on the wings. The flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a black tip, and legs are pink with darker pink joints. Hatchling is dark or light gray down with bright red legs and straight red bill. Juvenile is gray-brown, acquiring pale pink upper wing panel and pink tinge to gray legs and bill at 11 months; at four years, body plumage and lower portion of bill still grayer than adults.
P. r. ruber: Galбpagos and Caribbean; P. r. roseus: North, West, East, and South Africa, southern Europe, Middle East, southwest Asia and Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.
Shallow saline and alkaline lakes and lagoons.
Gregarious, with group displays involving ritualized movements of head and wings, accompanied by loud calls. In flocks of a few hundred to over one million.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Sieves aquatic invertebrates, seeds, algae, and diatoms from shallow water and mud.
Lays single egg (large, elongated, white, and chalky with reddish yolk) on mud nest close to or in shallow water, the time of breeding being dictated by rainfall rather than seasons. Nests in dense colonies, up to tens or hundreds of thousands of pairs. Incubation period 27–31 days; fledging 65–90 days. Both parents incubate and care for young, which gather into groups. Productivity very variable, with complete failures in some years. Age of first breeding normally five or six years.
Not threatened. Has declined in the Caribbean but increased in southwestern Europe. Elsewhere, very numerous, though subject to wide fluctuations in numbers based on rains and breeding success.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Sometimes hunted for food or sport, e.g., in Egypt.
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