How do Flamingo birds paint their feathers pink? Some amazing facts

Flamingo birds dye their feathers pink in a serum that their glands produce
Image: Pexels

A flamingo bird is a type of wading bird. They are found in the Americas, including the Caribbean and are native to Africa, Asia and Europe.

These birds have always fascinated humans with their appearance and beauty.

But now scientists have known that these leggy birds touch up their colour by smearing their necks with a serum that they produce glands near their tails.

And greater flamingos are not simply enhancing colour that is already there; they are also fighting the sun‘s bleaching effect on it.

This is as per a research report in the October Ecology and Evolution. They get their pink colour from the food they eat and their glands too.

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Flamingos’ feathers help them fly, keep their bodies dry and attract mates.

The birds’ feathers get their red colour from carotenoids, these are molecules responsible for many natural pigments; they are also found in the birds’ diet that comprises brine shrimp and algae.

Flaming Flamingoes

Image: Pexels

Basically, flamingo birds rub their cheeks on a gland above their tail which generates a colour-carrying serum.

It is known as the uropygial gland. Moreover, their feathers under the wings, that is the flight feathers are black. We only see them when the birds are in flight.

The birds then rub their serum-coated cheeks on their feathers to make it look like a natural dye.

As we all know that the sun carries ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) and these can potentially break down carotenoids.

So just like humans, flamingo birds too like to preen themselves while looking for a partner before mating.


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