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Chilean flamingo

Phoenicopterus chilensis

Chilean flamingos at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Phoenicopteriformes
Family: Phoenicopteridae

This species of flamingo inhabits brackish or alkaline shallow lakes across various countries in South America, including Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Using their specially shaped beak, flamingos eat algae, small molluscs, crustaceans and other tiny water creatures.

Interesting facts!

  • The word ‘flamingo’ is from the Spanish word flamenco, meaning fire, referring to the bright pink colour of their feathers.
  • Chilean flamingos are social birds that nest and feed together in large flocks.
  • The flamingo’s ‘knee’ is actually its ankle! Its real knee is very close to its body and can’t be seen through the bird’s plumage.
  • Their nest is a mud pile upon which a single egg is incubated by both sexes for approximately 28 days. The chicks are covered in grey, downy feathers for the first year.


This species is sadly declining in the wild due to egg-harvesting, disturbance by tourism and the degradation of its habitat due to mining. Proposed conservation measures include carrying out surveys during breeding season to monitor population and control intensive egg-harvesting.