Meet our diva extraordinaire, Pinky
Pinky is a 15 year old Chilean Flamingo, and, like all flamingos, she loves warm, tropical weather. However, unlike wild flamingos, and even our other flamingo ambassadors, Pinky loves to dance for our guests! Her keepers say that this is not a trained behavior, but a natural behavior she loves to show off. Flamingos are filter feeders, using their beaks to strain tasty morsels out of the water around them as they wade. To stir up the tastiest treats, flamingos will stamp their webbed feet. Pinky often performs this toe-tapping behavior out of the water for guests. She loves to get her groove on and enjoys the attention of her adoring fans.
What does Pinky eat?
In nature, flamingos eat blue-green and red algae, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. It’s the vitamins and nutrients in these food items that give flamingos the coloration they’re famous for. At Busch Gardens, the flamingos’ diet provides the same nutrition as their natural food sources, and comes in powdered and pellet forms. Newly hatched flamingo chicks have grey or creamy white down feathers –it takes 2-3 years for them to develop their trademark pink pigment from their carotenoid rich diet.
Why do flamingos stand on one leg?
Because if they lifted the other one, they would fall! Hahaha. All jokes aside, it is believed that flamingos will stand on one leg for a couple of reasons. The process of circulating blood all the way from the heart down to each leg costs a lot of energy. Flamingos can conserve some of that energy while resting, by tucking one leg up underneath their wing. And when it’s chilly outside, this is also an effective technique to stay warm!
While Pinky has a safe and loving home here at Busch Gardens, the rest of her species is suffering from habitat loss and exploitation. Adult flamingos are prey to several predators, including man, and the population trend of Chilean Flamingos is described as “decreasing” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). If you would like to see our beautiful flocks of flamingos here at the park, you can find them in several places…
- Bird Gardens: Caribbean Flamingos.
- Edge of Africa: Lesser Flamingos
- Jambo Junction: Caribbean and Chilean Flamingos (including Pinky!)
Source: Busch Gardens blog