Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Chilean Flamingo

Phoenicopterus chilensis

The Chilean flamingo is smaller and paler than most of its relatives, and is accustomed to a more temperate climate than Caribbean flamingos. These birds are native to South America and may even inhabit high altitude lakes in the Andes Mountains.

Range & Habitat

Chilean flamingos are found in South America in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, with some wintering in Uruguay and Brazil.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened

There are no more than 200,000 Chilean flamingos in the wild. Their population is declining due to habitat loss and degradation, harvesting and human disturbance.


In the Wild -- Algae, diatoms, brine flies, shrimp, mollusks, insects, small fishes, crustaceans and larvae.

At the Zoo -- Mazuri flamingo pellets.

Life Span

Up to 50 years.

Fun Facts about the Chilean Flamingo

  • Flamingos get their pink coloring from a carotenoid pigment consumed through their food.
  • Flamingos belong to one of the oldest bird groups alive. Their fossil records date back to the Miocene period about 10 million years ago.
  • Their bill is adapted for their unique feeding method. They hold it upside down in the water and move it back and forth, filtering out minute organisms through special comb-like adaptations, essentially using it as a sieve.


Busch Entertainment Corporation, Chilean flamingo. Retrieved October 27, 2006, from SeaWorld/Busch Gardens ANIMALS Web site:

Phoenix Zoo (2006). Chilean flamingo phoenicopterus chilensis. Retrieved October 25, 2006. Web site:

San Francisco Zoo (2006). Animals chilean flamingo phoenicopterus chilensis. Retrieved October 27, 2006. Web site:

Updated February 3, 2021