With their pink feathers, long necks, and even longer legs there’s no denying that flamingos are some truly fabulous birds.
It’s why we are obsessed with flamingo face masks, pool inflatables, and plastic garden ornaments.
But what makes our favourite fashionable feathery friends such a bright pink?
Why are flamingos pink?
Despite being known for being a rosy hue, though, flamingos aren’t always pink.
They’re born a much more drab grey, and gradually turn pink due to their diet – proving you really are what you eat.
Flamingos in the wild eat blue-green algae and brine shrimp, both of which contain a chemical called canthaxanthin.
In zoos this chemical is added to the food given to the birds – perhaps the visitors wouldn’t be so forthcoming for those grey feathers.
Canthaxanthin is also an ingredient used in certain brands of sausage. But don’t worry – you would need to eat a lot of sausages to turn you flamingo pink.
Even a flamingo egg yolk is pink, and some researchers believe their skin has been stained too.
During the mating process, the birds – both male and female – will flush a deeper pink to show they’re ready to breed.
Although flamingos are very cool to look at and seem delicate, they’re a prehistoric and hardy bird believed to have arrived around the time that dinosaurs went extinct, and have remained relatively unchanged since then.
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