Phoenicopteridae - Flamingos

Flamingos are amongst the oddest of birds, but they are adapted to life in a fairly specialised habitat, salt lakes. The bill, held upside down, is used to filter the water for small shrimps, molluscs and insects, with the tongue acting as a piston to draw water through the bill. Their pink colour comes from algae rich in carotenid pigments.

There are five species throughout the world; none of which occurs naturally in Britain, but the Greater Flamingo (which is found around the Mediterranean) and the South American Chilean Flamingo are sometimes seen, looking distinctly out of place, in estuaries and lakes, having escaped from a bird collection.

Related content