Why are Flamingos Pink?

Florida Hitty Gale

By Hitty Gale, a Gale Lyons Hitty

Have you ever wondered why a Flamingo is pink?

Pink Flamingos

Or Orange?

Florida Flamingos

Hitty with a Pink Flamingo

Living in Florida, I see lots of  Flamingos.

Flamingos eat algae or crustaceans which contain pigments called carotenoids.  When Flamingos eat algae, prawns or brine shrimp (crustaceans), enzymes in the liver break down the carortenoids into molecules of  color that is deposited into the legs, bill and feathers.

Flamingos that eat mostly algae have a deeper color than those that feed on crustaceans that eat algae.

People food such as carrots, sweet potatoes and other vegetables also contain carotenoids.  Most people to not eat enough of these vegetables to affect their skin color.

And now you know......



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