The Greater Flamingoes

Greater Flamingoes - Photo by Tahir Awan
Greater Flamingoes – Photo by Tahir Awan

This large specie is found in coastal regions of Pakistan. Greater flamingos are likely to be the only tall, pink bird in any given locale. They also have long, lean, curved necks and black-tipped bills with a distinctive downward bend. The Greater Flamingoes are the largest species of flamingo family, averaging 43–60 inches in height and 2–4KG in weight.

In the Rann of Kutch salt marsh of India and Pakistan, Greater Flamingos are occasionally electrocuted when they sit on 1000 watt electric cables near their breeding areas. Recently 139 deaths were officially recorded in the region.

Like all flamingos, this species lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound. Most of the plumage is pinkish-white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish-grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into their adult life. The coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds.

The bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks. The Greater Flamingo feeds with its head down and its upper jaw is movable and not rigidly fixed to its skull.

Greater flamingos used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

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