Although Hawaii has favorable conditions for flamingoes – tropical climate and warm waters – no flamingo species are native to the Aloha State. Most flamingo's in the Western Hemisphere live in South America and the Caribbean Islands. Other flamingo species are found on the African coastlines and the Middle East. Flamingoes are known for the pink or white plumage and the ability to stand on one leg for lengthy periods of time.
Chilean flamingoes (Phoenicopterus chilensis) are native to countries in western South America, including Chile and Peru. As adults, this flamingo species grows to approximately 5 feet. A Chilean flamingo has light pink and white feathers on its head, while its back has dark crimson and black plumage. This species lives in lowland aquatic environments and bodies of water at high altitudes.
Native to the Caribbean Islands, the American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), or the Caribbean flamingo, prefers warm aquatic habitats such as estuaries and alkaline lakes. These pink birds also inhabit Mexico and South America. American flamingoes are 4 feet tall and have a wingspan of 5 feet. Most of the feathers and both legs are pink, while the bill is white with a black tip. This flamingo's neck plumage is darker than the rest of its body.
Also known as the puna flamingo, James' flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) is native to southern Peru, Chile, Bolivia and northern Argentina. These birds live in aquatic habitats at high elevations in the Andes Mountains. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List places James' flamingo in the Near Threatened category due to habitat degradation and population decline. James' flamingo has pink feathers on its head, black tailfeathers and yellow coloration on its bill.
Lesser flamingoes (Phoeniconalas minor) is one of the world's flamingo species, growing up to 3 feet when fully mature. This bird has pale pink plumage and legs, and a pink bill with a black tip. Eastern and southern Africa is where most lesser flamingoes live; some populations live in Pakistan and western Africa. Approximately 5 million lesser flamingoes are in the wild, according to SeaWorld.
One of the most widespread flamingo distributions belongs to the greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus). Greater flamingos colonize in Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East. Some populations dwell in the Caribbean Sea and South American. The adults are one of the largest flamingo species at 5 feet. These birds have pink bills and legs; the majority of the greater flamingo's feathers are white or pale pink.
About the Author
Skip Davis has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has appeared in "Southern Literary Magazine," on various websites and in graphic panels at the Jackson Zoological Park in Jackson, Miss. Currently living in Southern California, Davis received his Bachelor of Arts in theater at Belhaven College.