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Lesser Flamingo in Africa



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The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) is a species of flamingo occurring in sub-Saharan Africa with another population in India. The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest species of flamingo, though it

Lesser Flamingo in Africa Description

The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) is a species of flamingo occurring in sub-Saharan Africa with another population in India. The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest species of flamingo, though it is a tall and largish bird by most standards. The species can weigh from 1.2 to 2.7 kg (2.6 to 6.0 lb). The standing height is around 80 to 90 cm (31 to 35 in). The total length (from beak to tail) and wingspan are in the same range of measurements, from 90 to 105 cm (35 to 41 in).

Breeding

In Africa, where they are most numerous, the Lesser Flamingos breed principally on the highly caustic Lake Natron in northern Tanzania. Their other African breeding sites are at Etosha Pan,Sua pan and Kamfers Dam . Like all flamingos, they lay a single chalky white egg on a mound they build of mud. Chicks join creches soon after hatching, sometimes numbering over a hundred thousand individuals. The creches are marshalled by a few adult birds who lead them by foot to fresh water, a journey that can reach over 20 miles (32 km)

Behaviour

Flamingos filter feed on brine shrimp and blue green algae.  Their beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue. The pink or reddish color of flamingos comes from carotenoids  in their diet of animal and plant plankton.  These carotenoids are broken down into pigments by liver enzymes. The source of this varies by species, and affects the saturation of color. Flamingos whose sole diet is blue-green algae are darker in color compared to those who get it second hand

 

 


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