Greater flamingo

(Phoenicopterus roseus)


Greater flamingo IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Greater flamingo has a total length of 125-145 cm; the body is only about 2/5 of the total length. Wing span is 140-165 cm. The plumage of the head, neck, body and tail is white with pink tinge. The Wing-coverts are bright crimson-orange and flight feathers are black. This flight feathers are usually partly hidden when the wings are at rest. The bill is curced downwards and pink with a black tip.


The very long legs are grey-pink with darker joints and feet. The sexes look alike, but males may be slightly larger than females. The plumage of juveniles is streaky brown. They have a grey bill with a black tip and gray to brown legs.

Did you know?
that in the wild Flamingos get their pink colour from the crustaceans that they eat? They would lose their colour in the zoo if they were not fed a beta-carotin colour additive.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Phoenicopterus roseus
Name (English) Greater flamingo
Name (French) Flamant rosé
Name (German) Rosaflamingo
Name (Spanish) Flamenco comĂșn
Local names Afrikaans: Groot flamink
Italian: Fenicottero
Portugiese: Flamingo-comum
Romansh: Flamingo rosa
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone



Range The species is widespread throughout S Europe, SW and S Asia, and Africa. Breeding around the Mediterranean basin in France, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia Egypt, and also in Botswana, Kenya, Mauritania, Namibia, Senegal, Soth Africa and Tanzania. The species may also be found through the Midlde East to Kazakhstan, India and Sri Lanka.
Habitat Saline lagoons and salt-pans, large, shallow hightly alkaline or saline inland lakes. Breeds on mudflats or sandy islands, or on islands of large water bodies and occasionally on bare, rocky islands.
Wild population West Africa: 30,000-60,000 - trend unknown Eastern Africa: 35,000 - decreasing Southern Africa: 55,000 - decreasing West Mediterranean: 80,000 - in creasing East Mediterranean and Asia: 500,000 - stable
Zoo population 3127 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Greater flamingo


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
J. M. Garg

Why do zoos keep this animal

The greater flamingo is not a threatened species, and zoos do not operate coordinated ex situ breeding programmes. Common flamingos are thus primarily kept for educational purposes, e.g. because of their social behaviour, their unique way of feeding, or the role carotenoides play for plumage colouration. Flamingos are also excellent ambassador species for wetland conservation.