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Chilean Flamingo

Fact File

Continent: South America
Habitat: Muddy, shallow lakes
Weight and Height: 3kg, 110-130cm
Diet: Omnivore (eats plants and meat)
Gestation: 29 days
Number of Young: 1



  • They can fly and swim well, have good eyesight but a poor sense of smell.
  • Eat by sweeping their heads side to side, close to the water’s surface to obtain their food. This is called filter feeding.
  • Their pink feather colour comes from the carotenoids in their diet. If they do not have enough carotenoids in their diet they become near white in colour.
  • Migrating groups fly in a V-formation, with their long necks and feet straight out.
  • They communicate in flight with loud calls, similar to those of geese which are important in keeping the flock together.
  • They stand on one leg to conserve body heat, drawing the other leg close to the body and tucking the head under a wing.

Chilean Flamingo

Phoenicopterus chilensis

Animals — Aves (birds) — Circoniiformes (Storks, Herons and relatives) — Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

Chilean Flamingos are social birds that feed and nest together in flocks ranging from a few individuals to tens of thousands. They require at least 15-18 birds for successful breeding. Similar to other flamingos, nesting is synchronised and is probably determined by the amount of food available for the nesting female and the chicks.

They are a large flamingo, and closely related to the Greater Flamingo and the Caribbean Flamingo. You can distinguish Chilean Flamingos by their greyish legs and pink joints, and by the fact that they have more black on their bills.

Chilean Flamingos are classified as ‘Near threatened’ because they are expected to suffer a rapid population decline due to egg collecting, hunting, and habitat loss due to human activities such as mining and tourism.

Habitat: Muddy, shallow lakes that can be brackish or alkaline.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 3kg
–Average wingspan: 112cm (males tend to be taller than females)

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 50 years
In captivity up to: 40 years

Diet: Feed mostly on invertebrates that live in the bottom mud. These invertebrates include brine shrimp, shrimps and mollusks. Their diet also includes some blue-green algae, aquatic plants, seeds, insect larvae, small worms etc. that are found in the alkaline water.

Distribution: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay. Has been introduced to the Netherlands and Germany, Utah and California.