Galapagos Flamingo

galapagos flamingos

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 NiƱo 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.

Galapagos Flamingo Characteristics:

  • Flamingo birds have the longest necks and the longest legs compared with its body size.
  • Flamingos have developed a good hearing ability but little sense of smell.
  • These shore birds eat with their head upside down. Their beaks have flat and thin membranes called lamellae that are used to filter the mud.
  • Flamingos are very sociable between them.

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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.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading! There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers. Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in. Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier. But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you. Small, well-priced, and reliable!

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table. This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!

Visit the Galapagos Islands and enjoy the beauty of the Galapagos Flamingo and the tropical nature of this Archipelago...

If you have any questions about the Galapagos Islands, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page or if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Islands Tours to visit and explore this wonderful Archipelago, You are welcome to Contact us here

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