Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo




Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Phoenicopteridae
Genus and Species: Phoenicopterus ruber

The Zoo exhibits flamingos from the Caribbean region. They are sometimes called American, Caribbean, or Greater Flamingo.


Flamingos are usually 42 inches long from the tip of the head to the tip of the tail, and are as tall as five feet. They weigh five to six pounds, and have a wingspan of 55 inches.

Distribution and Habitat:

The flamingo lives in Central and South America, the West Indies, and the Galapagos Islands, in coastal salt lagoons, saltpans, and other brackish or saltwater shallows.


Flamingos eat algae, mollusks, larvae chrysalides of brine-flies and brine-shrimps, which give them their pink color.


Pairs of males and females make mud-mound nests, and incubate only one egg for about 30 days. Chicks leave the nest after ten days, and join a group of other chicks, called a crèche, watched by a few adults.


Flamingo populations remain relatively stable, despite loss of habitat due to human development.