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American flamingo

American flamingo in Galapagos
© June Jacobsen

Common name:

American flamingo

Scientific name:

Phoenicopterus ruber

Spanish name:

Flamenco del Caribe

Conservation status:

Least Concern


Average lifespan:

60 years

Average size:

1.2 - 1.45 metres

Maximum size:

1.45 metres

Average weight:

2.2 kilograms (Females) / 2.8 kilograms (Males)


The American (or Caribbean) flamingo is one of six species of flamingo across the world. They breed in Galapagos, and across the Caribbean. The population in Galapagos differs genetically from that in the Caribbean: the Galapagos flamingos are significantly smaller, exhibit differences in body shape and sexual dimorphism, and lay smaller eggs. 

These large, majestic birds vary in shades of pink and have black-tipped wings which are only visible in flight. Like all flamingo species, the pink colouration is determined by the amount of carotenoid pigment that is ingested. These pigments are found in the flamingo’s food sources – algae, crustaceans and microscopic plant materials, and the more the flamingo consumes the stronger its intensity of pink. Although the pink colouration is most obvious in a flamingo’s plumage, the carotenoids also impregnate the bird’s tissues, skin, blood and even egg yolk.

American flamingos in Galapagos

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American flamingo in Galapagos
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