What is it about these wading birds that gets everyone’s attention? I know they have always captured my attention at the local zoo! I like the fact that they are so unique looking. Their color and those long legs! Also seeing a bird stand on one leg is an interesting site to see.
But, I do think most people are attracted to their pinkish orange color. Flamingos eat foot-algae and crustaceans that contain pigments called carotenoids. The liver has enzymes that break down the carotenoids into the pink and orange pigment molecules deposited in the feathers and legs. There is variation in color depending on the amount of carotenoids the bird gets. So if there was a flamingo living in captivity that wasn’t getting additives with beta-carotene or pigmented crustaceans it would be white or pale pink. :-)