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Flamingos (Latin Phoenicopterclassae) are the only family of birds in the order of flaminoids with long thin legs and a flexible neck, a large beak curved downwards, the horny plates of the tongue and jaws of which help it filter food extracted from water and silt. The hind toe on the paws is either poorly developed or not at all; the front toes form a swimming membrane.

The plumage of birds is soft and loose, absent on the head in the area of ​​the eyes, frenum and chin. The tail is short. Includes six species: Andean Flamingos, Red Flamingos, Lesser Flamingos, Common Flamingos, Chilean Flamingos and James Flamingos.

The body length of an adult bird ranges from 105 (Chilean flamingo) - 110 (red flamingo) to 130 centimeters (pink flamingo), weight - 3.5 - 4.5 kilograms. Distributed in Southwest Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, Central and southern parts of North America. Schooling birds nest in colonies (sometimes tens of thousands of individuals) on shallow sea coasts and salt lakes.

All flamingos are pink. Perhaps only in songs .... In fact, the color of the plumage of flamingos varies from white to red and even crimson. Somewhere in the middle, of course, there is also a shade of pink, inherent in the largest species of flamingos - the pink flamingo. Flamingo wing tips are black. Males and females are colored the same. The degree of plumage brightness depends on the carotenoid - a substance that enters the bird's body with food. Birds living in captivity, as well as young individuals, receiving an insufficient amount of carotenoids, have white feathers. To preserve their color, flamingos in captivity are fed not only seafood, but also carrots.

Flamingos live in the south. In Southeast (Southern Afghanistan) and Central Asia (Northwest India), Africa (lakes of Kenya, Southern Tunisia, Morocco, Northern Mauritania, Cape Verde), Southern (Andean flamingos) and Central America (red and Chilean flamingo). Colonies of pink flamingos are found in Sardinia and southern France (Camargue Nature Reserve, at the mouth of the Rhone River) and Spain (Las Marismas).

Flamingos live in colonies. Moreover, they are quite large: in one colony, sometimes up to a million birds can be counted. Flamingos settle on the shores of small reservoirs, shallow waters, lagoons, while they do not disdain those next to which no other living creature will live: for example, near very salty or alkaline lakes. It is also interesting that flamingos live not only in the plains, but also high in the mountains - for example, in the Andes.

Before taking off, flamingos run through the water. This is true, usually the run length is 5-6 meters and falls on shallow water. In the sky, a flamingo flies in the shape of a cross, stretching out its neck and legs.

Flamingos stand on one leg, because at this time they warm the other. Flamingos have long legs, there are no feathers on them, and accordingly, heat from such a surface, especially in windy weather, leaves very quickly. It is to preserve heat that a flamingo stands on one leg, especially since such a pose, due to the physiological specifics of the flamingo's paw, does not present any difficulties for the bird.

Flamingos feed on fish. In fact, they feed on other aquatic food: algae, seeds of aquatic plants, insect larvae and small crustaceans (planktonic crustaceans), which supply the flamingo's body with carotenoid. In the event of a shortage of food in places of residence, flamingos can fly after it within 30-50 kilometers to other lakes. The process of absorption of food by flamingos looks quite interesting: the bird plunges its head into the water with its beak, moves from foot to foot, and thus drives water with possible food past its beak, which filters the edible from the inedible. Flamingos feed at any time of the day and regardless of weather conditions.

Flamingos build nests from silt. This is done by male flamingos. The nests are in the form of a conical column with a truncated top and a bowl-shaped depression-tray on top. Unlike the nests of other birds, the nests of flamingos are bare - there is no grass or any other warming vegetation in them. The size of the nest is from 10 to 60 cm, the diameter at the base is 40-50 cm. The nest usually contains from 1 to 3 olive-green eggs. Flamingo nests are located next to each other, usually at a distance of 50 to 80 cm. The future parents sit on the nest with their legs tucked in, and get out of it, resting their beak on the ground and only then straightening their legs.

Flamingos feed their chicks with a special liquid. A kind of bird's milk, consisting of special secretions from the glands of the lower part of the esophagus and proventriculus, semi-digested crustaceans and algae. The nutritional value of this liquid is quite comparable to that of mammalian milk. Little flamingos feed on bird "milk" for the first two months of their life and vigorously grow their beak for self-feeding.

Routine poaching has led to the worldwide decline of flamingos. And the ruin of the nests of pink-finned handsome men. One of the flamingo species - James' flamingo, inhabiting the Bolivian and North Argentine Andes, was generally considered extinct at the beginning of the last century, it was found only in 1957. At the moment, flamingos are listed in the Red Data Books of many countries, including the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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