Skip to content Skip to footer

Greater Flamingo

Place to admire: Tropical Paradise

Scientific name: Phoenicopterus roseus

IUCN-status: Least concern

General Information

The Flamingo belongs to the Family of Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos). Flamingos are known as true group animals. A colony can consist of hundreds or thousands. Wow! A total of 6 different flamingo species live in the world: Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor), Andean Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus), James’ Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi), Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) and Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber). At Mondo Verde, you’ll admire the Greater Flamingo.


The Greater Flamingo occurs at salt lagoons, salt pans and also large, shallow salt inland lakes in Africa, Europe and Asia. The lakes are close to the sea or far inland. Greater Flamingos have adapted well to the climate, making them resistant to the harsh conditions of their environment. For example, they tolerate high concentrations of chlorides, sodium carbonate, sulfates and fluoride.

In Africa, the Greater Flamingo lives in Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In Europe, the Greater Flamingo is found in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Russian Federation (European Russia) and Spain.

The Greater Flamingo also resides in Asia, more specifically in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen.


The Greater Flamingo eats aquatic invertebrates, including small crustaceans, mollusks, articulated worms and larvae of diptera and other insects. These animals are usually found in the mud at the bottom of the water.

In addition, Greater Flamingos also eat plant seeds, small fish and brine shrimp. As a result, Greater Flamingos have a varied diet.

To remove aquatic invertebrates from the mud, the colony traps in shallow salt water. This chases the animals out of the mud. Then the it draws the water, which includes the animals, into its mouth with its tongue. The food sticks to the lamellae in the upper bill. Then it swallows the animals with its tongue.


A male Greater Flamingo has a size between 140 and 145 centimeters. The wings have a wingspan of 140 to 165 centimeters.

A female Greater Flamingo, on the other hand, is 20% smaller and also has shorter legs.

The Greater Flamingo has a juvenile gray-brown color with pink on the lower wings and tail. The legs and beak are brown in color.

Social behavior

Greater Flamingos live in groups, making them known as true group animals. Such group is called a stand, a colony or a flamboyance. Thus, a colony can consist of hundreds but also thousands of Greater Flamingos. Despite being found in large colonies, the Greater Flamingo lives monogamously. This means that they have only one life partner.

Natural behavior

You often see Greater Flamingos standing on one leg. One of the main reasons is to stay warm. The Greater Flamingo pulls up one leg and tucks it under its feathers. This keeps the paw nice and warm and it prevents the paw from cooling off. The water in nature is often cold, which lowers body temperature of the Greater Flamingo. By standing on one paw, it maintains the warm body temperature. In addition, it is also easier for him to hoist himself back from the mud.

Another reason is because it takes less energy. When the Greater Flamingo stands on one leg, it has a perfect balance. As a result, it uses less muscle power. This ensures that it has more energy to spare.

Despite being a large bird, the Greater Flamingo can also fly. It has long wings with which it keeps itself stable in the air. In fact, the Greater Flamingo flies so well that it flies between different locations to feed or breed. A colony can reach a top speed of 56 kilometers per hour in the air. Wow!

Interesting facts

Greater Flamingos, Ibises and Spoonbills at Mondo Verde

Greater Flamingos, Ibises and Spoonbills are all known to be colony breeders. Because of this, the natural behavior of these 3 species is displayed to its best advantage when they come together in a colony.

In Tropical Paradise (and throughout the rest of the park), you will see several (constructed) ponds and lakes. With these different levels of water, Mondo Verde stimulates natural behavior in the animals.

Admire other beautiful animals of Tropical Paradise