Flamingos are a wading bird of the biological family Phoenicopteridae (which translates to, more or less, "crimson winged ones". How awesome is that?). Depending on the species, these beautiful pink icons are found in the wild throughout five of the world's seven continents, in tropical and subtropical areas.
There are six living species of flamingo: the Chilean, the Greater, the American (also known as the Carribean), the Lesser, the Andean, and James's flamingo. The Lesser flamingo is the most numerous of these species, with an estimated population of 1.5 to 2.5 million birds, while the Greater flamingo is the most widespread, being found in Asia, Africa, and Europe (and even in limited numbers near Siberia, of all places!). It takes a trained eye to distinguish the differences between these species, though all flamingos are known to have long necks, large curved beaks, and long backwards-bending legs.
Strangely enough, the form that most people picture when they're told to imagine a typical flamingo is usually that of James's flamingo, due to the world-famous loved and loathed lawn flamingos ornaments, the crown jewels of kitschy Americana. Lawn flamingos seem to be based mostly on the physicality of James's flamingo, given their standard of pink legs and yellow beaks. But more on those later...
- breeding habits and offspring
- behaviour and habitat
- flamingos in art and culture
- mythology and the phoenix connection
- a selection of silly media
- how to make a Pink Flamingo
- the immortal lawn flamingo!