Caribbean Flamingo

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Range
Native: Aruba; Bahamas; Brazil; Colombia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Florida Keys: French Guiana; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Netherlands Antilles; Southern coastal Mexico; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; Venezuela, Galapagos Islands and Columbia

Regionally extinct: Antigua and Barbuda

Reintroduced: Virgin Islands

Vagrant (occasional): Belize; Bermuda; Canada; Cayman Islands; Guadeloupe; Honduras; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Virgin Islands, mainland Florida.

Habitat
Saline lagoons, mudflats, and shallow brackish coastal or inland lakes.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Large size and vivid color, the brightest and most colorful of all flamingos

Dietary Classification
Diet in the Zoo: krill, grain with beta carotene added, and some romaine lettuce.

Diet in the Wild: Flamingos are wading birds who sift through water for crustaceans, algae, worms, and some plants. They have bristles on their beak that strains the water from their food, similar to that of a baleen whale. Their tongue pumps water in and out of their mouth. Flamingos may also skim the water for food with their beak, or use their beak to stab prey (like a heron), or dabble along the floor of a lagoon (like a duck). All flamingos feed with their bills upside-down. They tip their head into the water and filter feed, using special adaptations in the top half of their bill as described above, to gather the microorganisms that make up their diet.

Life Span
Their life expectancy of over 40 years is among the longest of large birds.

Behavior/Adaptations
Caribbean flamingos spend most of their days preening, eating, wading, and resting. They are extremely gregarious birds, living in flocks of up to thousands of birds (though this is still considerably less than flocks of the Lesser Flamingo in Africa, one flock of which contained over 2 million birds).

Caribbean flamingos make similar vocalizations to geese, loudly honking and screeching. They put on several synchronized collective displays, like wing salutes, head flagging, head shaking, and marching. These displays are often performed during the breeding season. Caribbean flamingos have four main breeding sites, which are located in the Bahamas, Cuba, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and Bonaire in the Netherland Antilles.

Status
IUCN: Not listed CITES: Appendix II USFWS: Not listed Population estimates (2006): 850,000 – 880,000 Population trend: Unquantified (probably stable)