Flamingos start to build nests

Flamingos at Flamingo Land
Flamingos at Flamingo Land

If you’re planning on visiting Flamingo Land in the next few weeks, be sure to keep a lookout for any of our flamingos sitting on eggs.

The flamingos’ nesting season is almost here, so watch out for signs of them building nests near the lake in our South America area, visible from the Treetop Walkway. There’s also a talk about flamingos every day at 3pm, given by one of our keepers, so stop by and find out all the latest information on how the flamingos are doing.

We have two different species of flamingo at Flamingo Land; Caribbean flamingos and Chilean flamingos. The Caribbean ones are the darkest kind of flamingos in the world, with brilliant reddish-pink plumage. Their legs are also pink and because they are wading birds the front three toes are webbed. Their beaks are pale yellow at the base, pink in the middle and black at the tips. Until as recently as 2002 Caribbean flamingos were considered to be the same as greater flamingos but the two are now classified as separate species. Chilean flamingos are closely related to Caribbean flamingos but are easily distinguished from them by their much paler feathers. Their legs are greyish with pink joints and they also have more black on their bills than Caribbean flamingos.

All flamingos wade out into water to feed. Both Caribbean and Chilean flamingos are large birds, allowing them to wade out into deeper water than some other flamingo species. They usually feed with their entire head underwater, where they filter out food by allowing water to pass across rows of tiny comb-like plates on the edge of their bills. They eat crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic insects and algae. The characteristic pink colour of flamingos is due to the presence of certain chemicals (colour compounds known as carotenoids) in the algae and crustaceans that they eat. Both males and females may be seen building the nests, which are made of small bits of mud piled into a cone. Flamingos usually lay just one egg, which will be incubated for about a month. Both parents share the job of incubating the egg. If you do spot any flamingo chicks, don’t expect them to be pink like their parents; they are born with grey feathers and don’t get their pink colour until they are two or three years old.