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Are Flamingos Mean?

Are Flamingos Mean?

Flamingos are some of the most popular birds in the world thanks to how you cannot mistake them for their bright colors and long slender legs. They are quite common in Florida even though they are not native to the state and are actually invasive species. Still, as popular as the flamingo might be, you might be wondering about its overall temperament and how it treats other flamingos or even people. So, are flamingos mean? 

Flamingos are not mean but they can show signs of aggression out of self-defense especially when they are in their nests. In most cases, flamingos are actually pretty friendly and sociable. However, scientists have found out that pinker flamingos can actually show signs of aggression.

There is a price for being pinker in the flamingo world as the ones with brighter colors tend to be more aggressive than others. Still, that doesn’t truly mean that these birds are aggressive and mean. Like any animal, flamingos can also be aggressive and mean when there are reasons for them to be so.

Are flamingos mean?

Flamingos are some of the most popular birds in the world because you rarely see birds that come with the same pink coloration and body type that flamingos come with. These birds come with a bright coloration that is usually pink or a faded shade of red or orange. And it is its appearance that gives it the reputation of being a somewhat peaceful bird.

However, is it truly right to say that flamingos are generally peaceful just because they actually look peaceful and safe? After all, looks can be very deceiving not only when it comes to humans but also when it comes to animals such as birds. So, can flamingos be mean despite the fact that they look like they are some of the most peaceful birds on the planet?

Generally speaking, flamingos are actually peaceful and sociable birds that do well around their other birds. In fact, because flamingos are quite sociable, infighting doesn’t always happen in most flamingo flocks except for certain instances that we will be talking about later. That is why flamingos are never the most aggressive bird species in the world even when they are interacting with other species.

So, for instance, if a flamingo has gotten used to captive care and socialization such as the flamingos that are found in zoos, you probably won’t think that these flamingos are mean or aggressive due to how they have gotten used to human interaction. However, the same could not be said when it to flamingos in the wild as these birds might try to run or fly away when approached by humans. Still, it would be rare for a flamingo to try to attack a human or show its aggressive side even if we are talking about a wild flamingo.

But, just like how even the most docile and submissive animals are generally perceived as peaceful, there will be times when the flamingo can also be mean. In that regard, while at default, flamingos may be quite peaceful and friendly birds, they can still show a mean and aggressive side when there is a reason for them to be mean and aggressive. And you will be surprised to know one of the reasons that could lead a flamingo to become aggressive.

Why can flamingos be mean?

We have established that flamingos are not generally aggressive and are quite peaceful to the extent that they will not try to attack other flamingos or humans for simple reasons. However, we have also established that there will be times when the flamingo can be mean and aggressive when there are good reasons for them to be such or when there are other factors that will lead them to show their aggressive side. So, why can flamingos be mean?

The first reason why flamingos can be mean is tied to their nature as birds that will stay on the defensive when they have a reason to be defensive. Any animal will try to protect itself or its young when it perceives that an approaching animal or human is a threat to it. That’s why the flamingo can show its aggressive or mean side if you are perceived as a threat to it especially when it is on its nest.

In fact, because flamingos can be so defensive when they are on their nests, that is when they may show their aggressive sides. Flamingos can try to attack other flamingos that come near their nests because of how protective they are of their young (considering that flamingos only lay one egg at a time mostly). It also isn’t uncommon for other flamingos to try to steal the nests of their fellow flamingos when left unattended. As such, don’t expect a flamingo to be friendly towards other flamingos or humans when they are on their nests. 

However, the most probable factor why some flamingos can be mean is tied to the usual reasons why conflict can happen among animals of the same species. And yes, we are talking about food and mating here.

Scientists have observed in a study about lesser flamingos (the smallest flamingos) that conflicts can happen more often than in other flocks of flamingos. Well, because lesser flamingos tend to form larger flocks that can reach millions of birds, it can be easy to understand why conflicts happen. But, at the same time, because there are plenty of these birds in one flock, the reasons why conflicts can happen will arise much more often compared to smaller flocks of flamingos.

Before we get there, we have to establish that flamingos get their pink coloration from the crustaceans that they eat because these creatures are rich in beta carotene. So, in that regard, the more crustaceans a flamingo eats, the more likely it will end up having a brighter pink color than other flamingos. Now, this is where things get interesting.

Because lesser flamingos tend to form large flocks, the availability of food tends to be limited. As such, this is where infighting can happen as these birds may sometimes quarrel for food. So, a flamingo that wins a fight will be able to eat more food and will therefore consume higher quantities of beta carotene.

In the same study that was observed regarding lesser flamingos, it was found that flamingos with brighter colors tend to be more aggressive or mean than flamingos that aren’t as brightly colored. This can be tied to the fact that these are the flamingos that were able to win fights and were able to eat more food. And because they have gotten used to conflicts regarding food, they are likely to show more aggression and start fights among their fellow flamingos.

Speaking of fighting, it was also found that flamingos preferred to mate with other flamingos that are brighter in color precisely because the color was the indication of how strong and fit the flamingo is. Therefore, due to how there was a need to establish strength and fitness in a large flock of flamingos, infighting can happen as a way for a flamingo to not only win the right to eat more food but to also mate with other flamingos. And when two brightly colored flamingos mate, expect that their offspring will also come with a brighter color and a meaner attitude.