DEC 10, 2019 3:56 PM PST

The Real Reason Why Flamingos Are Pink

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Flamingos are highly discernible birds best known for their bright pink appearance and long, thin legs. But have you ever wondered why these birds are the pinkish color they are?

Flamingos get their pink appearance from the pigments found in their routine diets. Many believe that the pink comes from the shrimp they eat, but this is only part of the story. Albeit factual, these birds also enjoy eating blue-green algae that blooms when available. Both the algae and shrimp are rich in pigments called carotenoids, and these carotenoids are what is responsible for the pink coloration.

Notably, flamingos’ liver breaks down these carotenoids into both orange and pink molecules that are later absorbed by their fat. This colored fat then works its way through the body, coloring the birds’ beaks, feathers, and legs in the process.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the quantity of carotenoids that flamingos eat determines how pink the bird will be. Some birds are darker pink than others, with some being almost entirely white.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
MAY 19, 2020
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
In the bird world, parental units will often split responsibilities. One typically stays behind at the nest to protect t ...
MAY 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Do cats or dogs better survive venomous snakebites?
MAY 20, 2020
Do cats or dogs better survive venomous snakebites?
Who do you think could better battle off a venomous snakebite - a dog or a cat? New research from the University of Quee ...
JUN 08, 2020
Plants & Animals
Goldfish Can Communicate via Tiny Current Ripples
JUN 08, 2020
Goldfish Can Communicate via Tiny Current Ripples
Goldfish are an invasive fish species, but don’t let that distract from the well-known fact that they make for won ...
JUL 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
New Research Reveals Beluga Whale Social Networks
JUL 15, 2020
New Research Reveals Beluga Whale Social Networks
The familial and social relationships between whales, such as orcas and bottlenose dolphins, are moderately understood. ...
JUL 18, 2020
Cancer
Clinical trials go forth for osteosarcoma in dogs and glioblastoma multiforme in humans using the same precision medicine
JUL 18, 2020
Clinical trials go forth for osteosarcoma in dogs and glioblastoma multiforme in humans using the same precision medicine
A development in precision medicine in cancer treatment for dogs has led to a similar advancement in cancer treatment fo ...
AUG 05, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Bullock's & Baltimore Orioles May Mix, But They Won't Merge
AUG 05, 2020
Bullock's & Baltimore Orioles May Mix, But They Won't Merge
Researchers have data that can finally settle a long controversy in the birding world.
Loading Comments...