Flamingos have always had this magical quality for me, the beautiful pink, tall slender bodies that can stand on a straw like leg, the funny curved beak, the bird that inspired a beautiful dance found in Latin American countries. It wasn’t until we made it Celestun Mexico that we had chance for a close encounter with thousands of these delicate and beautiful creatures.
All the Globetrotters loaded up in boats and headed out on the river to find flocks of flamingos doing what they do for eight hours a day, eating crustaceans, shrimp and plankton, using those long necks and curved beaks to strain the water to get their fill.
A few interesting facts about Flamingos,
- They lay the second largest egg in the world, second only to the Ostrich.
- Flamingos get their pink color from their diet, beta-carotene, the stir up the muddy bottom and then use their beaks to strain out the mud and water.
- Flamingo chicks are born with grey and white feathers. They do not turn pink for a year or two. Their beaks are straight, and begin to curve as they grow and mature.When a Flamingo takes off in flight it looks like it walks on water for the first few steps before taking off.
- Adult Flamingos stand 4 to 5 feet tall but only weigh between 4-8 lbs.
- The male and female of a mating pair build a nest together, and both sit on the egg while it incubates for about a month. They are monogamous.
- Plastic lawn flamingos are an American cultural icon that was introduced in 1957 by artist Don Featherstone. In the 21st century, they are considered endangered. Efforts are underway to revive the art form, and in 2009, Madison, Wisconsin, named the plastic pink flamingo the city’s official bird.
Here is a sample of what the Globetrotters got to see in Celestun.