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Chilean Flamingo Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Phoenicopterus chilensis
  • Class

    Birds
  • Order

    Ciconiiformes
  • Range

    Peru and Brazil south to Argentina

  • Habitat

    Coastal mudflats, estuaries, lagoons and salt lakes. Chilean flamingos can occupy habitats ranging from sea level up to 14,000 feet in the Andes. Their ability to tolerate extreme conditions makes them well suited for Chicago's harsh winters.

  • Niche

    The Chilean flamingo's bill is equipped with comb-like structures that enable it to filter food—mainly algae and plankton—from the water.

  • Life History

    Chilean flamingos live in large flocks in the wild and require crowded conditions to stimulate breeding. During breeding season, males and females display a variety of behaviors to attract mates, including head flagging—swiveling their heads from side-to-side in tandem—and wing salutes, where the wings are repeatedly opened and closed. Males and females cooperate in building a pillar-shaped mud nest, and both incubate the egg laid by the female. Upon birth, the chicks have gray plumage; they don't gain adult coloration for two-three years. Both male and female flamingos can produce a nutritious milk-like substance in their crop gland to feed their young.

  • Special Adaptations

    The Chilean flamingo often stands on one leg, tucking the other beneath its body to preserve body heat.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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