Why are flamingos pink?

22nd July 2009

Asked by: John Findlay, Edinburgh

Actually, flamingos are not pink. They are born with grey feathers, which gradually turn pink in the wild because of a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin that they obtain from their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae. Flamingos in zoos would often lose most of their pink colouration until keepers started adding synthetic canthaxanthin to their diets. Curiously, the same ingredient is sometimes added to sausages that we export to the continent.

Read more nature Q&As



You are currently reading: Why are flamingos pink? - 22nd July