Q:

What makes flamingos pink?

A:

Quick Answer

Flamingos display pink plumage because their diet includes many small crustaceans the shells of which are laden with pink pigmentation and other chemicals which in turn manifest in the flamingo's feathers. Flamingos feed in wetlands and lake beds, stirring up mud and silt with their feet and then sweeping their beaks through the agitated soil to sieve out their prey.

 Know More

Full Answer

Flamingos in captivity will often lose their coloration. Dietary supplements can be used to restore their brilliant color, but without it their plumage will fade until it is a kind of off-white or rose and cream color that is also sometimes seen in wild flamingos feeding from atypical sources.

Flamingos are not born pink and do not acquire their vivid pink coloration until at least 2 years of age. Hatchlings are grey or white with a thick layer of downy feathers covering their bodies, and they remain this way until they molt and fledge upon maturation.

Flamingos take in a huge amount of muck and dirt as they filter through the waters where they feed. To avoid swallowing this detritus, their beaks are equipped with a filter-like mechanism which allows them to catch food while water and refuse sluice out.

Learn more about Waterfowl

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does a baby mallard duck eat?

    A:

    A baby mallard duck's diet consists of invertebrates such as worms, gastropods and small crustaceans. The protein and fat found in these sources are vital to the growing duck. The mallard duckling's egg yolk can also be used as a food source the first three days after hatching.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do whooping cranes eat?

    A:

    According to the National Wildlife Federation, whooping cranes have an omnivore's diet that includes crustaceans, small fish, insects, amphibians, reptiles, grains, marsh plants and acorns. They live in locations with significant water sources, such as wetlands, marshes, mudflats, wet prairies and fields.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do emperor penguins eat?

    A:

    The emperor penguin's typical diet consists of fish, krill, squid and crustaceans, though the actual composition of their diet varies from population to population. Fish is the most important food source for emperor penguins, with the Antarctic silverfish accounting for most of the penguin's diet.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do Arctic cod eat?

    A:

    The diet of an arctic cod varies greatly as it grows, and at different times includes different components of plankton (mainly small crustaceans such as copepods, amphipods, euphausiids and arrow worms), shrimp and other arctic cod. Arctic cod are unlike other cod because they feed not at the bottom of the ocean but instead in the upper layers of the ocean.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore