No offense, dustfromamoth
, but your source is horribly misinformed about a few things. I will list here several of the "facts" you presented about flamingos, followed by the real
facts (or, in a few cases, simply some elaboration):
- Flamingos are pink because of the food they eat (shrimp). This is due to the beta-carotene content. Flamingos that don't eat shrimp are plain white. This is similar to humans who turn orange if they eat too many carrots.
Not true. Flamingos rarely have access to shrimp unless the shrimp happen to wash up on a beach, since flamingos stick to very shallow water and shrimp stick to deeper waters. The flamingo's pink/reddish coloration comes from eating algae and insects high in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments. Flamingos also eat crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. The flamingo's diet is determined by the shape of its bill, which can be either shallow or deep-keeled.
- Flamingos feel most secure when they are crowded together, hundreds of them in a group.
This is true, and in fact colonies consisting of tens of thousands of birds are quite common. What's even more interesting, though, is that two or more species of flamingo can happily live together in the same area. This is because the different species have different diets, which allows them to coexist without exhausting the food supply.
- Flamingos live outstandingly long lives; up to eighty years.
Not true. Nobody knows exactly how long flamingos live, but the oldest flamingo on record was one at the Philadelphia Zoo, which lived for 44 years.
- Don Featherstone from Massachusetts created the pink lawn ornament. He designed the pink flamingo in 1957 as some kind of a follow-up project to his plastic duck. Today, Featherstone is president of the company that sells an average of 250,000 to 500,000 plastic pink flamingos in a year.
This is partially true. Don Featherstone does not claim to have invented the flamingo. He sculpted the flamingo out of clay for his employer, Union Products, and then converted it to plastic. It's not clear who came up with the actual idea. It is also true that his first project was a duck, but what's interesting is that the company, which Featherstone bought from the original owners in 1996, actually sells more ducks than flamingos, despite being most famous for the flamingos.
- There are more plastic flamingos in America than actual real ones!
If by "America" you mean "North America" or "The United States", then you are correct. This isn't surprising at all, though, since there are no wild flamingos in North America other than those living in zoos. However, flamingos are very common in South America.
Update: icicle pointed out that she thought there were wild flamingos in Florida and, after doing some research, it turns out she is partially correct. While there are no native flamingos in North America and no permanent North American flamingo population, occasional changes in climate or food sources will drive flocks to Florida from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. However, most of the flamingos you'll see in Florida are actually zoo escapees who hang around for a while before moving on to a more suitable habitat.