Can Flamingos Fly?

Flamingos look so much like ostriches, which is why a large number of people are skeptical about the fact of whether it can fly or not. Considering that ostriches run long distances, it’s easy to assume that flamingos have the same properties.

Can flamingos fly

However, flamingos can fly. They fly about 600km, 373 miles in just one night at speed between 50 to 60kph. This species of birds are known for flying high altitudes like planes, most likely to avoid predators.

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With their long legs and necks, flamingos can fly at a maximum of 15,000 feet, which is 4,5km, and a minimum of 10,000-13,000 feet, which is about 3-4km. With their looks, it is easy to not assume such flying capacity from the flamingo. The bird that flamingos are closely related to is the grebe. They share 11 different characteristics, which cannot be found in other birds. Also, flamingos are famous for standing on one leg; the reason for this is yet unknown, although there are speculations on it.

However, to keep a flamingo as captive or even in a zoo, their wings are often clipped. Although a flamingo can be maintained if there are ample food and resources, people do not like taking their chances. These birds feed on insects, brine shrimps, crustaceans, mollusks, and blue-green algae. Flamingos filter the food they eat with their hairy structures, and their bills help them separate items like mud and silt from the food they want to eat.

can flamingos fly

When they give birth to their chicks, they feed them with crop milk, protein, white blood cells, red blood cells, and fat. These components help them to grow fast and healthy. After hatching, the first six days are used in the nest.

When this number of days is completed, the chicks start to move around. After approximately two weeks, they move to the mini creche where their safety and protection are guaranteed. This is how flamingos are built and how they protect their own from predators.

How Do Flamingos Fly?

The way flamingos fly is different from that of most regular birds. Flamingos need to first flap their wings continuously before taking off. Then, they get their speed most popularly by pedaling on water. However, they can also gain this speed on the ground by using their feet.

Also, it has been observed that flamingos need a platform that serves as a runway before they can take off. Most times, the direction of the wind is where they take off. Flamingos are distinct and highly distinguished by many properties, and this is one of them.

can flamingos fly

When flamingos want to land, they slow down by taking an upright posture. They lift their heads while pushing their feet downward and forward. Flamingos take the flying position, which looks like an arrow. These birds put their long feet backward and their neck forward with their extended wings on either side and flap continuously through their flight. One fun discovery about flamingos is that under their wings is black compared to their pink body.

They are also popular for flying in formations, and they develop their wings to fly at 11 weeks after hatching. After 2-3 months, flamingos start to fly for the very first time. Although they are not trained to teach their chicks to fly, they make flying attempts until they begin to fly.

Where Do You Find Flamingos?

There are American flamingos that you can find in Yucatan, West Indies. Also, in the north of South America, you can find flamingos and even along with the Galapagos Islands. The Andrean, Chilean, and James’ flamingos are found in South America, and other flamingos can be found in Africa. However, if you are looking for more significant numbers of flamingos, you can find them in India and the Middle East.

Can flamingos fly

Seven Exciting Facts About Flamingos

They Have Different Species 

Flamingos have six different species that can only be distinguished by those who have studied the birds closely. There are lesser flamingos, greater flamingos, American or Caribbean flamingos, Chilean flamingos, and Andrean flamingos. They are found in different areas, and they have their distinctive features. 

Flamingos Weigh Remarkably Low Weight

Naturally, flamingos are long based on their necks and legs, which makes them tall. However, they have low weight density as they are low weight birds compared to their capacity and capabilities. They are between 3.9 to 4.7 feet, which can be converted to 1.2 to 1.45 meters. Flamingos weigh 2.5 to 3.5 kg, which is about 5.5 to 7.7 pounds.

Can flamingos fly

Peculiar Way Of Eating 

These birds are known for congregating in lagoons or mudflats where they find their prey on shallow saltwater. This way of eating is peculiar because they can easily feed away from the sight of predators. Their beaks are also structured to strain animals right out of the mud, and the muddy water is removed. 

One Egg In One Year

Most birds are known to lay many eggs at the same time in their nest. However, flamingos produce only one egg in a year. Regardless of whatever happens to the egg, they have to wait for another year before laying another one. Another remarkable fact is that both the male and female of the mating pair sit on the egg for it to hatch. They also have to safeguard their nest so another flamingo or a predator won’t steal it.

They Grow Into Pink

Initially, flamingos are born with grey and white colors. It takes about 1-2 years to turn into pink, which is the regular color for flamingos. It’s easy to assume that all flamingos are pink because most of them look that way. However, it is fun to discover that pink is not even their initial, although they are known for their flashy color. 

Flamingos Can Sleep On One Leg

These birds can sleep when lying down and also on their legs. They can choose to sleep on one leg and then shift to the second leg without losing their balance. Their brain is said to sleep at that time. Furthermore, this reality is yet another fact about flamingos that set them apart from their counterparts. Their capabilities are both shocking and exciting at the same time.

Mating Occurs During Raining Season

Flamingos have their mating season tied to the rainy season in areas where others mate at a particular time of a year. When there is less rain, flamingos are unlikely to mate at all. If rain does not fall in many years, flamingos do not mate at all.


Sometimes. Naturally, flamingos do not migrate; however, they can migrate in search of more favorable conditions. They can move when there is drought, winter, or better feeding conditions. When they decide to migrate, they usually do so usually in the night because they prefer the cloudless sky.

These birds learn to fly at the age of 2-3 months; they develop flying feathers just after 11 weeks that they’ve hatched. After then, they start making their first attempts at flying. Their adults do not supervise them while they fly, but they learn on their own.

Yes. Their high social skills distinguish flamingos as they are always found with each other. This allows them to stay in habitats that are safe and far from predators. However, it also makes it easier for attacks, especially when natural disasters happen.

Flamingos extend their neck to the front and take their long feet backward. This position allows them to suspend effectively in the air, especially since their long necks and legs have been taken care of with the position taken.


People often assume that flamingos cannot fly because they are seen on the ground on more occasions than when they are seen flying. Other assumptions are formed due to their long neck and legs because people wonder how they can fly with such nature. Also, being good swimmers makes people wonder about their flying capabilities.

However, flamingos seek to defy every single assumption by actually flying and even doing it excellently. They fly at a relatively high speed, mostly in formations enjoying the cloudless sky. Although they do not fly like regular birds, they make good use of their wings.

They are found in high populations in the same environment while socializing to the fullest. But this formation also allows them to easily lose their population if attacks occur. Such attacks make it difficult for them to gain their population, especially with their egg-laying system that allows one egg for one year.

Furthermore, they are a wonder to behold with their attractive colors, various talents, and their formations. You can find them in the Caribbean Islands, Aruba, Bahamas, Cuba. They can also be spotted at the Everglades National Park or in areas around southern Florida.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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