Phoenicopterus ruber   Linnaeus,  1758 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Pbase

Wingspan measuring 1.5 m wide, standing 1.2 m tall, and weighing 2.1 to 4.1 kg

Voice: Goose-like honk.

Habits: Highly gregarious, occurs in small groups to huge flocks numbering into the thousands, feeds in shallows by emerging its head with inverted bill, breeds in colonies from July to April, nest conical mound of mud with shallow pan-like depression at top.

Adult: Sexes alike, female smaller and generally with less pronounced rose color. A tall, white, stilt-legged and long-necked bird with a large sharply decurved massive pink bill, edge of upper mandible and terminal third black, legs and feel pinkish-red. Plumage rose and white, wings black and scarlet. In flight, the long neck and legs stretched to full length with contrasting black and scarlet underwing. Juvenile: Greyish-brown with brownish bill and dark plumbeous legs.

Breeding season: Greater flamingos breed after the rainy season, usually in spring or summer. There is no set breeding season for flamingos. Nest- When the mating is complete, both birds will build a nest from the mud. The nest is a small mound approximately twelve inches high, circular, and with a depressed center for the egg to be laid. When available, bits of vegetation, twigs, or feathers are incorporated into the nest. Eggs- 1-2, large and milky white, about the size of a large orange or grapefruit.

Synonym (s)
Phoenicopterus roseus (Pallas, 1811)

Common Name (s)
• Greater Flamingo (English)
• Flamingo (English)
• Valiya poonara (Malayalam)
• Pu konga, Samudrapu chiluka, Raja hamsa (Telugu)
• Poonarai, Kizhi mooku naarai (Tamil)
• Rohit, Gnipankh, Pandav (Marathi)
• Balo, Hunj, Moto hanj (Gujrati)
• Kanmunthi, Kanthuti (Bengali)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Flamingos are occasionally hunted by local people for food in some areas. Flamingo meat and eggs are sold at markets, but otherwise there is no economic impact towards humans.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The species suffers from low reproductive success if exposed to disturbance at breeding colonies (e.g. from tourists, low-flying aircraft and especially all-terrain vehicles.)
Importance:  Dangers
(If there is a risk, it is the potential for disease transmission. Large colonies are susceptible to rapid spread of disease and tuberculosis and avian flu, both human respiratory diseases, are common in flamingos. However, since flamingos prefer isolation and will readily flee humans, the risk for transmission is decreased to only when hunted for human consumption. However, this risk remains low and no serious outbreak of human disease has been traced to flamingo populations.)
Importance:  Ecosystem balance
(Greater flamingos consume large amounts of aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, and algae and likely has a large impact on those populations. Flamingos feed in shallow bodies of water, and often use their large feet to stir organisms from the bottom up into the water column. This activity likely contributes to sufficient oxygenation and mixing of organic material within these bodies of water and aids in avoiding anoxic conditions. Greater flamingo eggs and young fall prey to local predators, thus supporting these populations.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Mainly comprising chironomid larvae, small moulluscs, crustaceans and seeds of aquatic plants, seldom fish.
Predator:  Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) Foxes (Vulpes) Badgers Wild boars (Sus scrofa) Yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis)
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Khambhat INDIA
• Orissa, Chilika Lake INDIA
• Goa, Divar INDIA (Record: 03/11/2000)
• Goa, Mandovi estuary INDIA (Record: 03/11/2000)
• Tamil Nadu, Pulicat Lake INDIA
• Delhi, Okhla barrage bird sanctuary INDIA
• Maharashtra, Navi Mumbai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Point Calimere (Lat: 10.3) (Long: 79.85) INDIA
• Gujarat, Bet Dwarka INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -
  • Nagarjuna, A; Kumar,NVN; Kalarani, V and Reddy, DC (2010) Aquatic and avian biodiversity of Pulicat brackish water lake and ecological degradation World Journal of Fish and Marine Sciences IDOSI Publications 2 (2) 118-123 Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Urfi AJ (2003) The birds of Okhla barrage bird sanctuary, Delhi, India Forktail 19 39-50pp Available at -
  • Pawar PP (2011) Species diversity of birds in mangroves of Uran (Raigad), Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, West coast of India Journal of Experimental Sciences 2(10) 73-77 Available at -
  • Lal Mohan RS (1986) Birds and Bird Catchers Of Ramanathapuram Coast Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at -
  • Urfi AJ (2002) Waders and other wetland birds on Byet Dwarka Island, Gulf of Kutch, western India Wader Study Group Bull. 31-34 Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-07-10

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