Going Wild: Colorful flamingos of the Honolulu Zoo

By Ashley Moser
Published On: Apr 11 2014 06:35:00 PM HST

KITV4's Ashley Moser visits the Honolulu Zoo to find out what gives flamingos their bright pink color.

HONOLULU -

Before the resort in Las Vegas, flamingo was just used to describe one of the world's most colorful tropical birds.

Click here to watch Ashley Moser's report.

Maybe it is their keen balance or perhaps it is their bright, colorful feathers, but people cannot help but be drawn to flamingos.

"Flamingos are just so different than the normal cage birds that you see," said zoo keeper Susan Arbuthnot.

They are far from normal with a population just shy of a million. They are only found in warm environments.

"They are from tropical and subtropical areas of the world, so this temperature is perfect for them," Arbuthnot.

32 of them call Hawaii home here at the Honolulu Zoo.

It is hard to miss that gorgeous pink. People often wonder why flamingos are that color. Well it is easy.

Keepers say it is something in their diet.

"Mostly crustaceans, brine shrimp, diatoms, lots of algae, so they just pick up that color through their diet," said Arbuthnot.

Keepers say it is their long necks and the shape of their beaks that help them grub.

"If you notice their beaks have a curve at the tip. They will kind of tip them under and they'll sift and ingest the food in the water," said Arbuthnot.

Their long legs help them wade in deep water, but it is not until they are on land that you truly grasp the length of their legs.

A couple other questions people wonder are one: Why do flamingos look like they are bending backwards?

Keepers say that it is because those are actually their ankles. They have no knees.

Two: Why are they always balancing on only one leg?

"It helps them do a little of heat regulation, so they conserve their body heat because they just have such long legs. So, they'll rest with one up so that helps conserve," said Arbuthnot.

Flamingos are magnificent birds with colorful characteristics.

Keepers say the tallest of the six different species can get up to five feet tall while the shortest hang out around three feet.

Flamingo

Flamingo

Flamingo

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