Monday, March 2, 2009

Are You Flamingo Savvy?

One of Sylvan Height’s most popular attractions is the Flamingo Exhibit. Located in the center of the park, our flock is a mix of lesser and Chilean flamingos. Visitors can enter the exhibit to view these colorful birds from a viewing deck located on the edge of the flamingo’s pool.

To celebrate the popularity of these birds, we’re excited to bring you the first installment of our "Think Pink" series, which will bring to you interesting information about flamingos once a month. We’ll try to cover a little bit of everything, from their biology to their history in captivity. And we’ll also include facts about the flamingo flock here at Sylvan Heights. So if you’re an avid flamingo afficionado, or your children have a research project that they need help with, or you're simply a fan of anything related to Sylvan Heights, hopefully you’ll find some useful information here.

How many flamingos are there?
One of the most distinct birds in the world, flamingos are instantly recognizable. To most people, flamingos are those tall, pink birds with the long legs and neck. And that’s absolutely correct. But did you know that there are six different kinds of flamingos? In Europe and Africa, you can find the greater and the lesser flamingos. In the Americas, there are the Caribbean flamingo, the Chilean flamingo, the Andean flamingo, and the James’s flamingo. And believe it or not, they can all be distinguished from each other. There are small differences, such as the size of their bodies, shape of their beaks, and the color of their beaks, eyes, feathers or even legs!

Take a look at these pictures of both flamingo species at Sylvan Heights. You’ll see a lesser flamingo on the left and a Chilean on the right. Can you see the differences in eye, beak and feather color? What about the shape of the head? The Chilean’s is slightly longer, less compact. They also tend to be larger birds with longer legs that are more of a pale pink compared to the lesser’s dark pink ones.

Next time you visit the park, take a little trip down to the Flamingo Exhibit and see if you can pick out the Chilean from the lesser flamingos. Then come back here and leave us a comment letting us know how you did!
We'll post more information about flamingos in our Think Pink installment next month. Until then, we'll be bringing you updates about the park, including events, membership opportunities, animal adoption kits and, of course, introducing you to more of the beautiful animals living at Sylvan Heights.

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