English Name: Caribbean Flamingo
Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus ruber
Family: Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
Genus: Phoenicopterus (Greater Flamingos)
Other Names: Chògògò (Papiamentu), American Flamingo
The Caribbean Flamingo has a length of about 120 to 145 cm (~47.2 to 57″) with a wingspan of 140 to 165 cm (~55.1 to 65″), weighing some 2.1 to 4.1 kg (~4.6 to 9 lbs). (Males are slightly larger than females). They have long slender legs, a long thin neck, long pointed wings and a large curved bill. The toes are webbed. They are know especially for their pink and reddish body with lighter feathers on the back. The legs and feet are pink, and the wings are edged with black flight feathers that are only visible in flight. The bill is pink with a black tip and is pale yellow at the base. Juveniles have a gray and brown plumage with traces of pink.
Distinct features: 1) very long legs that bend backwards. The Caribbean Flamingo, along with the Greater Flamingo, has the longest legs in proportion to body size of any bird; 2) very long, slim neck typical of the Flamingo family; and 3) thick, hooked bill.
The Caribbean Flamingo feeds on a large variety of small prey, including marine snails, small clams, worms, mosquitoes, brine shrimp and brine fly larvae. It stirs up the mud from the bottom of shallow water with its feet, and then plunges its head underwater and filters food out through its bill.
They are sexually mature in about three to five years and generally breed between March and mid-July. On Bonaire, the flamingos breed from January to July (exclusively in the Pekelmeer flamingo sanctuary in the south of the island). They produce one egg every year, which is laid in a volcano-shaped nest built from mud. Both parents incubate the eggs which hatch after 28 to 32 days; the chicks fledge after about 75 days. Their life expectancy is an average of 25 years.
Local Research and Conservation Efforts
STINAPA Bonaire protects the Washington Slagbaai National Park, which is an important habitat for the Caribbean Flamingo. On Curacao, the Jan Kok salt ponds that they inhabit receive special protection.
Did You Know?
Related Pages: Species in the Spotlight: Caribbean Flamingo Sources: