The Galapagos Flamingo is one of the most colorful birds in the enchanted Galapagos Islands.
The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) lives around the brackish waters of some lagoons located in several Islands of Galapagos.
Flamingos are very shy birds (unlike much wildlife in Galapagos). They love privacy specially when they are breeding and you cannot get too close to them and will normally only be viewed at some distance. I would recommend you to carry a pair of binoculars for better views.
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For feeding, these shore birds move their bills upside down underwater to gather and sift the bottom sediment. Flamingos feed on crustaceans like shrimp and small water plants.
Thus the color of flamingo feathers is determined by their diet. Their food (specially the crustaceans) is full of substances called carotenoid pigments that cause flamingos' feathers to become pink.
They can be seen on saline lakes mostly on Floreana Island but they are also present in other Galapagos Islands like: Isabela Island Santiago, Rabida Island and Santa Cruz. Flamingos are often grouped in colonies of two to four hundred individuals.
The Galapagos flamingo bird is a popular attraction for visitors and professional photographers because of its beautiful color and body characteristics (long-legged and long-necked birds).
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The Galapagos flamingo habitat is in the brackish lagoons that are located in the lava fields behind the coast of the Galapagos Islands.
Their size is about 120 to 140 cm in height and weight approximately 2.8 Kg (males) and 2.2 Kg (females) Flamingos reach their sexual maturity at about five years, and have a lifespan of about 15 years.
Flamingos in Galapagos are considered an endangered species mainly due to the El Niño current that happened in 1983.
Because of this phenomenon the flamingo nests were drowned by higher water levels and its population suffered heavily from reduced food sources.
The nests of the Flamingos are made of mud, small stones, straw and feathers. Both males and females use their beaks when building their nests.
The nests are built high (around 12 inches) to protect them against the extreme heat and flooding that sometimes occur at ground level.
The flamingo has a special beak that is well adapted to separate mud and sediments from the food they eat and the way they use it (upside down) is a unique attraction worth to photograph.
Another peculiar characteristic of the Galapagos flamingo is when they stand on one leg. Some say that the reason for this unique posture is that by tucking one leg beneath the body may conserve body heat.
And others say that this action is done to keep the legs from getting wet and in addition to conserving energy.
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