12 Days of Grub: Day 12 – Twelve Flamingos Flocking

On the Twelfth Day of Grub, your zoo gift will help to feed…Twelve Flamingos Flocking, Eleven Meerkats Mobbing, Ten Chimps a Chasing, Nine Fruit Bats Flying, Eight Giraffes a Galloping, Seven Snakes a Slithering, Six Mole-rats Mining, Five Golden Frogs, Four Calling Birds, Three Wild Dogs, Two Grizzly Bears, and Darwin the Cassowary! CLICK HERE to read them all!

Chilean Flamingos Feeding at the Houston Zoo


Here at the Houston Zoo, one of the most beautiful sights is our large flock of Chilean Flamingos. These brightly-colored birds are social, vocal and highly interesting. Amazingly, the size of our flock is nothing compared to the spectacular gatherings these birds would naturally form in the wild; Chilean Flamingos are known to form flocks numbering into the thousands!


Flamingos have grooves along the edges of their beaks used for filtering small food items from the water

Without question, one of the most intriguing aspects of these unique birds is the way they feed. Flamingos have a specialized beak designed to help “filter” small plants and animals out of the water, which are then consumed and metabolized to create the striking pink coloration! Flamingos will take in a mouth full of water (along with whatever happens to be in the water), and then use their tongue to push all the water through special grooves on their beak. The result is a mouthful of food that these birds will then eat!

Here at the Houston Zoo, our flamingos are fed a variety of different pelleted diets (depending on the time of year and their current metabolic needs). These pellets are made to be nutritionally complete, which could easily help contribute to the fact that several of our flamingos are in their forties and fifties!  Our flamingos also receive krill, a small species of shrimp that is relished as a treat.

A large group of animals can prove to be ravenous; Chilean Flamingos are no exception. Our flock of birds readily eats through 50+ cups of pelleted diet per day. In addition, 5lbs of krill per week are consumed by our flamingos. When temperatures hit lows in the winter, these amounts are increased to keep up with the metabolic needs of these amazing birds.

Give the Gift of Grub by December 31 to help provide our flamingos and the rest of the Zoo’s 6,000 animal residents with all the tasty and nutritious grub they need to stay happy and healthy in the New Year! 

Thank you to TXU Energy for generously matching the first $25,000 in donations this year!

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