I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but flamingos recently became the “kale of style”, following a sudden journey from kitsch to cool. But even though we’d love to talk about how consumer trends emerge, this is not the right page to do so. I’m A Useless Info Junkie is here to answer questions and not discuss fashion statements.
Instead, today we’ll talk about one of the most weird features of this bird – it’s vibrant pink color.
Here’s how it goes. (the article continues after the ad)
Flamingos are indeed some of the best dressed and incredibly good-looking birds out there. But if you ever happen to see a baby flamingo, you’ll notice that their plumage is actually made up with gray feathers.
And that is because their color develops as they grow and is based on their diet. Due to the fact that they primarily eat aquatic organisms – mainly shrimp – flamingos consume a huge amount of pigments called carotenoids.
These carotenoids, which by the way are the same pigments that make a shrimp turn pink when boiled, are essential for flamingo’s pink color. If, for example, they were to eat insects, berries or seeds, their feathers would become white or gray.
This is the same reason why many vegetables including carrots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, squash and apricots get their red, orange and yellow color. However, because people have a varied diet, these carotenoid-filled foods won’t change our skin color overnight.