Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: How do flamingos stay pink?

August 25, 2014

Flamingo-Away | UncommonGoods

We’ve all heard that you are what you eat, but flamingos are the poster birds for this aphorism. They’re best known for their bright pink plumage, but did you know that this color comes from their diet? Flamingos are born with white feathers, but they obtain a pink cast through eating brine shrimp, which contain generous amounts of beta-carotene. This same compound is found in carrots and is essential to vitamin A production for birds and humans alike. So, healthy flamingos in the wild are naturally a vivid pink-orange color, but their captive colleagues are kept in the pink with beta-carotene supplements. The plastic flamingos that live on lawns, however, get their color from industrial red dyes and do not need to be fed.

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