Reader’s wildlife video

I am up at 3:30 Paris time for an early departure home, so as I’m winging my way back to the land ruled by a crazy man, please enjoy this wildlife respite: a flamingo video from Tara Tanaka. Her notes:

On an unseasonably warm and foggy Florida morning I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to video a rare visitor to St. Marks National Wildlife Reserve – an American Flamingo. Although the bird has a feeding style similar to other waders I’ve seen, it is unique in its circular pattern and rhythm, using both feet. It wasn’t until I was editing the video that I noticed that the bird appears to be missing its feathers underneath its body, behind the legs – I think I’m seeing pink skin – not feathers — with a visible vent.

If you’re not a science-minded birder you might want to stop reading here. If you’re still reading…another behavior that I found unusual was that unlike many other wading birds that I’ve observed and videoed including Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets and others that leave the water they’re feeding in before relieving themselves, this bird relieved itself in the water right in the path in which it was feeding, and it had a very different appearance from the white liquid stream of other waders.



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Great vid.

    I used to be an avid flamingo watcher myself. Then they had to go and close the thoroughbred track at Hialeah. 🙂

  2. Dominic
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Perhaps it attracts invertebrates when it vents? Perhaps it is a coprophage!

    • Dominic
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      “Etymology: < Portuguese flamengo, Spanish flamenco, Provençal flamenc, according to Hatzfeld & Darmesteter < Romance flama flame n. and adj. + suffix -enc ( < Germanic -ing) often appended in Provençal and occasionally in Old French to nouns of Latin origin…" OED Online

  3. J Cook
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Greetings Tara,
    Aren’t Flamingos filter feeders?

  4. rickflick
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Flamingos are iconic and associated with Florida. Sadly, the prevalence of replicas on lawns has given them a reputation as kitsch. This film gets them past the kitsch and back to biology where they belong.

  5. ladyatheist
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Beautiful film with lots of behavior in it. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    is the foot action to stir up the sediment? I’ve heard about their amazing ability to process salt via a mouth salt gland & to filter very, very hot water. They are aliens.

  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Great footage! I am reminded of the famous Audobon painting of this bird.

  8. Lars
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    That’s a peculiar gait it displays in the first part of the video – don’t think that I have seen anything quite like it, but I am going to go off now and have a look at what crane locomotion videos I can find on UTube.
    Thanks for this clip, lovely to watch.

  9. Andrea Kenner
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Majestic bird! I love the way he lifts his legs when he walks. Ms. Tanaka’s videos are always so beautiful!

  10. Posted November 14, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks very much to everyone for your nice comments!

    Many waders use their feet when they feed. Wood Storks use their feet to stir up prey, standing on one foot while “stirring” with the other and holding an open beak that reflexively snaps shut when something swims in. Some birds just follow behind other birds to grab whatever is stirred up as the lead bird feeds:

    When I heard that this bird was exhibiting interesting feeding behavior, I immediately wanted to video it and share it. As soon as I saw it I realized it was very different from any other wader’s feeding style I’d seen. As J Cook mentioned, it is my understanding that they are filter feeders. Perhaps the bird is loosening up the mud that it filters in subsequent coverage of the same area.

    I subscribe to a wonderful site called “Birds of North America” that has scientific data about all NA species, but unfortunately American Flamingos are not included – showing just how special this visitor is.

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