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Why Flamingo's Are Pink

Have you ever wondered why certain species have different colors of skin? Well, today I will take a Flamingo as an example and will give you all the scientific reasoning behind why flamingos are pink in color.

Birds come in all different colors but it is not every day that we see a bird that is pink. There are many different reasons why an organism/thing has the color it does. One main reason why some organisms have the color they do is that when you zoom into their skin with a microscope then you see many tiny little substances that contain that color. These tiny colored substances are called Pigments. One great example of this is the leaves. When microscopes were first invented, scientists found out that leaves are green because of these small microscopic blobs(Pigments) called Chlorophyll.

After this, you must be thinking that the reason why Flamingo is pink is because of the color of Pigments they contain in their skin but this is simply not the case. There are some flamingos that are white in color. Are they white because they are rare or that they have some kind of disease? Even when you go to the zoo you can see that the flamingos are pink and some are white. Could it be that flamingos can change color?

Our mystery can actually be solved by noticing something that zookeepers noticed when they started keeping flamingos in their zoos. Most waterbirds in zoos eat specially made pellets which work for them perfectly. Flamingos do good while eating pellets but Flamingos in the wild do not eat pellets. Once the flamingos started growing their feathers again in the zoo, zookeepers noticed that the feathers had turned from pink to white and stayed white. No matter how long they left the flamingos for they had not turned pink again. Then someone though whether this was happening because the flamingos in the wild ate something that the zoo's pellets did not contain. Then scientists started experimenting and observing what the flamingos in the wild ate and fed the same thing to the flamingos in the zoo to observe any changes. Turns out that flamingos in the wild eat algae and small shrimps that loo like this and these small shrimps contain pink pigments.

The pink pigment in the algae is not easy to see but there are other algae in the world that contain pink pigments and that are very easy to see. One example of this is in a lake that is located in Australia called Lake Hillier.

Sure enough, feeding flamingos algae and small pink shrimps(Brine Shrimps) in zoos are the reason why flamingos are pink.

Thanks for reading!



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