During the entire month of November, the Minnesota Zoo​ will be sharing stories of the many rescued and rehabilitated animals that we care for. All of our animals receive amazing care from zoo staff, volunteers and community members. All of this work is made possible because of YOUR amazing support – thank you! Check back daily as we feature a new story from around the Zoo.

It’s difficult to miss the flock of lesser flamingos found in Gibbon Island on the Tropics Trail. They are the tallest birds onFlamingo-3 the Trail, and a few of them (three to be exact!) have been here since 1978 when the Minnesota Zoo first opened its doors. Lesser flamingos are the smallest species of flamingo. Thousands upon thousands of flamingos gather to breed in only three locations in Africa, but in spite of their wide geographic distribution, their population numbers are declining and the species is listed as near threatened.  Flamingo breeding sites face threats due to pollution, disturbance, and other factors.

Come and check out the many birds of our Tropics Trail, including our lesser flamingos, during an upcoming Backstage with Birds program!

Did you know? Lesser flamingos get their pink coloration from the pigments in the algae they eat. Chicks are grey when they hatch.  Flamingos feed with their heads upside-down in the water, either skimming the surface or fully submerging their heads.  A filter-like structure within the flamingo’s bill helps to trap tiny particles of algae.