The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family.
This is the largest species of flamingo, averaging 110–150 cm (43–60 in) tall and weighing 2–4 kg (4.4–8.8 lbs). The largest male flamingos have been recorded at up to 187 cm (74 in) tall and 4.5 kg (10 lbs). It is closely related to the American Flamingo and Chilean Flamingo, with which it has sometimes been considered conspecific, but that treatment is now widely seen (e.g., by the American and British Ornithologists' Union) as incorrect and based on insufficient evidence. Like all flamingos, this species lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound. Most of the plumage is pinkish-white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish-grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into their adult life. The coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds.
It is found in parts of Africa, southern Asia (coastal regions of Pakistan and India), and southern Europe (including Spain, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy and the Camargue region of France). Some populations[which?] are short distance migrants, and sightings north of the breeding range are relatively frequent; however, given the species' popularity in captivity, whether or not these are truly wild individuals is a matter of some debate. A single bird was seen on North Keeling Island (Cocos (Keeling) Islands) in 1988.
The bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks. The Greater Flamingo feeds with its head down and its upper jaw is movable and not rigidly fixed to its skull. The average lifespan in captivity, according to Zoo Basel, is over 60 years.