European flamenco

Phoenicopterus roseus

Common name

European flamenco


They live preferably in shallow, very saline and alkaline lake areas, almost always close to the coast. They have also been observed in volcanic lagoons and lakes.








30-32 days

Number of offspring




They are not selective in their diet, they feed on anything that is captured in the filtration process; bacteria and microorganisms, worms, nematodes, mollusks, crustaceans, insects and larvae, and even vertebrates such as small fish and plant matter.


Around 25 years in the wild and up to 30 in captivity.

Biology and behavior

With a curious physiognomy, the flamingo has a very long neck and legs compared to the rest of the birds. This and its strange beak suppose adaptations to the environment in which these animals live, shallow waters. The extraordinary and specialized beak of the flamingo is made up of numerous blades that trap food, filtering the small plants and animals it traps.

The pink color of this flamingo is due to the pigments contained in the microorganisms it feeds on. Furthermore, this coloration is essential to stimulate their reproduction.

It is one of the most sociable birds, being able to form groups of up to a million individuals, as they come together to breed, giving rise to a colorful collective courtship that gives way to copulation and the construction of mud nests. In them they lay a single white, elongated egg that they incubate for about 30 days, both the male and the female.

The chicks are fed with a special milk produced by both parents, something exceptional in birds. At three months the babies are capable of flying.

In periods when they are not breeding, sub-Saharan African populations tend to disperse to saline lakes and wetlands in the east and south of the continent, similarly, Asian populations move from their breeding grounds in lakes of inland towards coastal wetlands. In both cases the breeding season follows the rains and they form large mixed colonies with populations of lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor).

Populations in the Palearctic region are partially migratory and regularly move south to warmer regions when winter arrives. Non-reproductive individuals can remain in their wintering areas all year round. These populations reproduce from March to June in large colonies.

Juvenile individuals tend to make nomadic movements or partial migratory movements throughout their range in response to changes in water level or food availability.


Flamingos tolerate changes in temperature very well, frequenting places that reach 60ºC, conditions uninhabitable for almost any other vertebrate.

These animals usually remain on one leg for a long time, even when sleeping, while the other remains tucked under the abdomen. This position prevents heat loss.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island