why are flamingos pink?

Flamingos get their pink or reddish color from the pigments in the food they eat, specifically beta-carotene, which is found in algae and small crustaceans that flamingos consume in abundance. These tiny aquatic organisms contain pigments that are naturally pink or orange, and when ingested by flamingos, they are deposited in the bird’s feathers, skin, and beak.

Flamingos filter-feed on brine shrimp, algae, and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in shallow, salty lakes or lagoons where these pigmented organisms thrive. The more pigments they consume, the more vibrant their pink color becomes. If their diet lacks these pigments, flamingos can turn a paler shade of pink or even gray.

Therefore, the pink hue of a flamingo is not just an aesthetic feature but is also an indicator of its health and diet quality. In captivity, zookeepers often add supplements to the birds’ diets to ensure they maintain their characteristic pink color.

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