March 2024, Bird of the Month: American Flamingo
Pretty in pink!

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Introducing March's Bird of the Month: the American flamingo!

Known for their signature pink color, long legs, and warm-weather vibes - flamingos are well loved across the world. The only species of flamingo native to North America is the American flamingo, also known as the Caribbean flamingo. 

Currently, people are flocking from everywhere to see a flock of flamingos blown off course by Hurricane Idalia to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida. They’ve remained there since September of 2023. Previously, the rare birds had not been seen on the refuge since 1992. 

Identifying flamingos

Flamingos are three to five feet tall with long, slender pink legs.  Their webbed feet have three toes. Young flamingos sport white or gray plumage which later turns pink. Their wings are large, and their tails are short. The flamingo’s long neck curves into an S shape. They have small heads with thick, downturned bills.

Flamingo Photo Contest

3, 2, 1... strike a pose! With long legs ready to strut their stuff, flamingos make the perfect model for photographers. As part of our Bird of the Month series, we invite you to submit your photos of American flamingos in a photo contest. 

In the file name of your photo, please include your first and last name, contact email address, and the location where the photo was taken. Submissions will be judged by a panel of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees. Once a winner is selected, they will be contacted via email and asked to sign a photo release form. This form protects the photographer's rights, ensures proper credits are given, and grants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permission to share the photo on our social media channels.

The winner will be announced publicly near the end of each month on our Southeast Regional Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) platforms. 

A photo contest will occur each month for each featured bird species. At the end of 2024, all twelve winning photographs will be shared on our regional social media accounts.

Submit your original photos of American flamingos here! 

Flamingo Fast Facts:

  1. Flamingos are flamboyant birds.  In fact, a group of these birds is called a flamboyance.

  2. Young flamingos start out with white or gray feathers which gradually turn pink within their first two years of life as they continue eating their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae.  Their food contains carotenoid pigments which provide the pink color.

  3. Males attract prospective mates by showing off their dance moves.  In the spring and summer, flamingo colonies form and conduct courtship rituals.  The males’ synchronized dancing, head-flagging, and wing-spreading is carefully watched by females before they select their special male. 

  4. Flamingo nests are mounds of mud high enough to protect the birds’ eggs from predators and fluctuations in water levels. Following nest construction, females lay one, pale-colored egg which is incubated by both parents to ensure successful hatching.

  5. Flamingos prefer to fly at night, especially if they’re traveling long distances.  They might migrate to another, warmer location for the winter or move to a new body of water when the seasons change.

  6. Flamingos seem to use less muscle power when they stand on one leg than two, and that stance may be less taxing for them. They sometimes sleep standing on one leg.  Also, flamingos and other birds losebodyheat through their legs and feet. When they stand on one leg and put the other one under their belly, flamingos limit the amount of heat that escapes.

American Flamingo Phone Wallpapers

Need more flamingos in your life? Never fear, phone wallpapers are here! Download your favorite, set your screen, and admire away! 

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Wading birds

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