Beautiful pink flamingo eats shrimp in the Galapagos Islands
Flamingos are one of the world's most unique and beautiful birds. Their long legs and vibrant color make them instantly recognizable. Their feathers are a gorgeous pink color as a result of the pigments in the shrimp that they feed on. Most of us know that these birds feed exclusively on shrimp, but seeing how they drag their beaks through the water in an upside down position to filter for shrimp is a sight that few have experienced up close.
This solitary flamingo had been passing by a small pond on Isabela Island in the Galapagos. It stopped to forage for food in the shallow waters, and also, surprisingly, in the mud flat around the edge of the pond. At first glance, it would appear that the mud would not hold any food for the giant bird, but clearly he was able to filter some of the tiny animals out of the thick mixture. Flamingos are also known to eat a type of algae called cyanobacteria, which are poisonous to most animals. The flamingos are capable of eating large quantities of this toxic plant without consequence.
The flamingo is fascinating to watch as it moves on its impossibly long, stilt-like legs. It makes a distinctive croaking sound occasionally, although there were no other visible flamingos that it might be calling to. This flamingo had taken a break from a migration. They fly at night, occasionally travelling as far as 600km (400 miles) in one flight.
Flamingos are one of the few bird species that actually produce milk. Both the male and the female in a breeding pair are able to produce the milk in their digestive tract. This milk contains fat and protein, as well as red and white blood cells. Some pigeons and doves are also capable of producing a similar crop milk.
Flamingos are extremely social bids, often found in very large flocks.