Thursday, 21 March 2013

Caribbean flamingo - National Bird of Bahamas

Flamingos are among the world’s most beautiful tall birds. Gregarious, social, noisy and colorful, Caribbean flamingos can be found in flocks of hundreds or thousands of birds. One can easily recognize them because they are famous for spending so much time standing on one leg. Covered with pretty pink plumage, black-tipped bills and a large downward-pointing beak, flamingos can often be seen flying in large flocks. With their long neck and legs, they look very attractive when in flight, particularly with their black flight feathers. 

Interesting & Amazing Facts about Caribbean Flamingo are:
  1. The Caribbean flamingo is the brightest and largest of the flamingo species.
  2. There are 19 bones in a flamingo’s long neck. It’s unusual beak and feathers are made of a tough substance called keratin.
  3. They have narrow wings with their primary and secondary flight feathers being black in color and their wing coverts being red.
  4. They have a loud, deep honking call that is similar to that of a goose. They call loudly during courtship but they have a quieter call while they are feeding.
  5. They are highly social birds and they live in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals.
  6. They are filter feeders and their tongue pumps up and down, 5 - 6 times per second, pushing the water out of their beak.
  7. They produce one chalky white egg that is laid on a mud mound in shallow water.
  8. Chicks are fed a substance called "crop milk" (Red colored milk) which comes from the parents' upper digestive tract.
  9. Their cone-shaped nest is made up of mud, shells, grass and pebbles, with a flat top and strong base.
  10. Flamingos often rest on one leg in the shallows. This position is very comfortable for the bird, as it greatly reduces the amount of body heat lost to the cool water. Sometimes, they also sit down on land, especially during the hatching period, to keep their eggs warm.
  11. Flamingo comes from the latin word for flame.
  12. There are no subspecies of the Caribbean Flamingo.
  13. Caribbean Flamingos are closely related to the Greater Flamingo and the Chilean Flamingo.
  14. Caribbean Flamingos are also known as: Rosy Flamingo & American Flamingo
  15. The flamingo's characteristic pink colouring is caused by the beta carotene in their diet.
  16. Flamingos can drink very hot water, as well as water that is several times saltier than sea water.
  17. Flamingos excrete salt through glands in their noses.
  18. The birds need to run a few steps into the wind to take off during flight.

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