Flamingos are fascinating creatures, and their babies are adorable and quirky. The name flamingo is from the Latin word flamenco, meaning fire or flame colored, suggesting that we have been stunned by their beautiful colors for a very long time!
In the recent years, biologists have made numerous new discoveries about baby flamingo’s that may surprise you.
The following article answers some of the most common questions I get about baby flamingos, revealing some of the most amazing traits!
How many babies do flamingos have per year?
Flamingos almost always have only one baby per couple per year.
Flamingo breeding season is between April and May, where they spend time building the nest, protecting the egg, and raising the chick.
It is a lot of work to be a flamingo parent and each chick is taken care of for at least three to four months. This means that they only have enough time to lay one egg per season.
What is a baby flamingo called?
A flamingo baby is called a flaminglet! And, as with any newly hatched bird, you are also correct in referring to baby flamingos as chicks or chicklets.
Like other birds, they are also referred to as “nestlings” while in the nest and “fledglings” when they leave the nest and their feathers start to grow.
What does a baby flamingo look like?
Baby flamingos look like soft fluffy white chicks that have pinkish tones beaks and legs and pronounced black eyes.
They resemble a chicken or duck chick, but they have much longer legs and beaks. At only 2 weeks old, they are about the size of a muffin.
Do baby flamingos have feathers?
Yes, baby flamingos have feathers. They have fluffy down feathers, which keeps them insulated. These down feathers are grayish-white that covers their whole body except their pink legs and beaks.
Baby flamingos hatch with down feathers and eventually grow their adult feather, in which they will spend hours of their day preening.
Preening is a flamingo’s way of waterproofing and is done by transferring oil from a gland near the base of the tail to the rest of their feathers.
What color are baby flamingos (are they pink)?
Even though we picture flamingos as large pink birds, baby flamingos are not born pink!
This should be clear if you watch the videos above (or playing in the corner of your screen!).
The fluffy coat of the baby flamingo is a greyish white color. Some baby flamingos can look lighter and whiter, while other can appear to be a much darker grey.
Why are baby flamingos not pink at birth?
Baby flamingos are not pink at birth because they have not yet eaten the food that turns the adult flamingos their iconic pink color. They instead will gain their pink coat as they mature.
See my recent post on the diet of baby flamingos and why they turn pink!
Are any baby flamingos blue?
No, although a blue baby flamingo would be adorable, blue flamingos do not exist. The idea of blue flamingos was a hoax created by photo manipulation and spread on the internet.
What sound does a baby flamingo make?
A baby flamingo makes a squeaking sound, similar to a dog’s squeaky toy. Each chick has their own distinct squeak, which is what their parent use to identify that the chick is theirs.
Can baby flamingos fly?
Baby flamingos cannot fly. In fact, they gain their flight feathers around 11 weeks after hatching, and don’t start flying until they are 2 to 3 months old.
It appears that baby flamingos are not shown how to fly by the adults, they instead practice and fail repeatedly until they learn it on their own.
How Big are Baby Flamingos (How Much Do They Weigh?)
When a newborn baby chick hatches it weighs only 2 – 3 ounces (50 – 90 grams), and it will keep increasing in weight over the first couple of months till they reach the adult weight of 4-8 lbs.
Over the first week the baby flamingos almost double in weight and they continue to grow at this rate for months after hatching.
After only three weeks they weigh an average of 14 ounces (400 grams) and more than a pound (450 grams) before their first month is over.
By the second month of their life the juvenile flamingoes weigh around 20 times their birth weight at approximately 3 pounds! From here on, they only gain a few pounds before they reach the final weight of adulthood.
How tall are baby flamingos?
Baby flamingos are small compared to the adults, but they are larger than most bird species hatchlings, including chickens.
When newly hatched, their body is about the size of a tennis ball (3 x 2 inches), when they roll up.
However, when they stand up and stretch their neck fully, they can reach a height of up to 14 inches but the actual height depends on the species.
An adult flamingo is around 40 inches in height and their wingspan is around the same. As baby flamingoes have not yet developed long feathers on their wings, so they have a somewhat shorter wingspan of 6-11 inches a few weeks after hatching.
When they hatch baby flamingos are usually only about 2 inches tall.
They reach a height of 1 foot very quickly and are the size of adults by the time they are 6 months old.
Do baby flamingos come from eggs?
Yes, just like all other birds, flamingos lay eggs and incubate their nests until the nestlings are hatched.
How long does it take for a flamingo egg to hatch?
It typically takes between 25 to 32 days for a flamingo chick to hatch out of its egg. During the incubation period, both the male and female flamingo look after the egg.
A flamingo egg is around 2.7 x 2 inches making it quite elongated in shape. It takes approximately a month before it cracks and a baby flamingo comes out!
How big is a baby flamingo’s nest?
A flamingo nest usually measures 10 to 15 inches in diameter and is at least 5 inches tall.
Both the male and the female flamingos work to build a nest made of mounded mud, sticks, and feathers. Because flamingos usually only have one chick at a time, the nest is not bigger than what one chick requires.
The nest is mostly made for the parents to lay on the unhatched eggs and because the baby leaves the nest quite rapidly, so it is not made to be extremely comfortable.
Because the parents prefer to sit fairly high up in their nest, a flamingos nest can be up to an incredible 20 inches tall and takes over 6 weeks to build!
Maybe you would also like your nest a bit high up if you had such long legs!?
How long are baby flamingos in the nest?
The newly hatched flamingo babies can walk right away, so nothing keeps them from leaving the nest.
However, they usually stay in their nesting area for 5 to 12 weeks, which is the time where they need the most parental care.
After about 11 weeks, the bill of the chick has bent enough to exclusively eat food they have foraged on their own.
How many babies do flamingos have at a time?
Flamingos usually only lay one large egg at a time, but occasionally they have been known to lay two.
Flamingo couples are monogamous during the raising of the chick, so there is typically only one chick per couple.
The flamingo couple (both parents) takes care of the flamingo fledgling until it is able to feed entirely on its own.
How do baby flamingos sleep?
The baby flamingos will exclusively sleep in their nest for 5 days. After that they will begin to transition into sleeping with the group of other flamingo young.
When they have left the nest, baby flamingos sleep more like adults standing on only one leg to preserve heat and energy.
Eventually they will join the adults while they sleep standing up with their head on their backs.
Do baby flamingos stand on one leg like the adults?
Very early on, baby flamingos don’t automatically stand on one foot like the adults do.
It is a learned behavior that is super cute when you catch baby flamingos trying to practice!
What are a group of baby flamingos called?
A group of baby flamingos is called a crèche. The adult flamingos gather the baby flamingos into these crèches when they are around 3 weeks old. They are then cared for my a few adult flamingos, but only fed by their own parents.
Are juvenile flamingos brown?
Yes, although most are a combination of white with blackened feather, some juvenile flamingos can appear brown. This is because they have not yet gained their vibrant adult pink color. They are in transition from a grey hatching to a pink adult, and the coloration will continue to darken as they mature.
Can salt kill baby flamingos?
Unfortunately, yes! Not only can flamingoes ingest too much salt, like any other animal, which will dehydrate their bodies and overload their kidneys leading to death, but much more commonly, they can die from the restricted movement caused by heavy salt crystals forming on their legs!
A lack of water and an excess amount of salt can cause salt boots to build up on the legs of the baby flamingos, making it hard for them to keep up or making them vulnerable to prey. This unfortunately, can lead to their death.