Animal Facts

  • Genus:

    Phoenicopterus
  • Species:

    Phoenicopterus chilensis
  • Conservation
    Status:

    Near Threatend

  • Found In:

    South America
  • Height:

    110-130cm

Meet our beautiful flamingo!

Adelaide Zoo’s Chilean Flamingo is the only flamingo currently residing in Australia. Affectionately known as Chile, it’s thought that he arrived at Adelaide Zoo in the late 1970s. He has an independent nature and does not interact with zoo keepers often. Due to his age he probably doesn’t see very well, which may account for the reason he tends to spend most of his time towards the back of his watery home. Chile’s favourite food is a fishy smoothie zoo keepers prepare for him daily and he’s also known to dabble around in the pond for other tasty treats.

Until recently Chile’s long term companion was the Greater Flamingo, who passed away in January 2014. Although flamingos are usually social birds, it appears Chile has adapted well to being the sole star of the flamingo pond.

The Chilean Flamingo is found in most parts of South America, inhabiting tropical and warm climates.

Flamingos are extremely social birds and vocalisations serve as an important part of the communication between one another. Their calls sound similar to a honking goose.

Flamingos are not born with their beautiful pink plumage. The colour comes from the carotenoid pigments they consume as part of their diet. Some scientists believe that a flamingo’s success in breeding relies on its bright colour.

It’s estimated there are around 300,000 individuals remaining in the wild. As with many animals, habitat destruction and exploitation, in the form of egg-harvesting, is the flamingo’s greatest challenge.

Although flamingos have few natural predators, the colony minimises predation through the strategy of ‘the selfish herd’, which theorises that the more options there are for a predator the less likely it will pick me to eat. Additionally, with thousands of birds all together in one area, there are more eyes to watch for possible predators.

Love Chilean Flamingos? Join our colony and ensure flamingos stay a beat ahead of extinction! There are many ways you can help support these beautiful birds! 

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Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction and connect people with nature.

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