Flamingo Fact File

The Five Flamingos

The Five Flamingos are the stars of the Five Flamingo book series.

The Five Flamingos are rather fabulous. They are really clever and when their friends are in trouble they always have a very cunning plan to help them out!

But what are real flamingos like? Where do they live, what do they eat and why are they such a bright pink colour? Find out with our Flamingo Fact File!

Different Types of Flamingo

A Flamingo

There are six species of flamingos. Two species, the Lesser Flamingo and the Greater Flamingo, live in Africa, where the Five Flamingo books are set.

The Greater Flamingo is the largest species and grows up to 5ft tall!  The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest flamingo species and grows to 3ft tall.

What do Flamingos eat?

Flamingos are filter feeders

Flamingos feed in shallow waters eating algae, insects, small fish, molluscs, shrimp, and plankton. They’re filter feeders, holding their bent bills upside down so they can scoop up water and then using their bill and tongue to sieve out their food.

A flamingos colour comes from its food which contains special colouring chemicals, know as pigment.

Fabulous Friendship Groups

Recent research has show that within colonies the flamingo’s form smaller groups of around five birds who they spent most of their time hanging out with.

It’s thought they form these groups to help each other forage for food, be on the look-out for predators and to watch out for when the entire flock is about to move on.

One leg sleeping!

You’ll often see flamingos standing on one leg – they do this to keep warm and because standing on one leg takes less energy than standing on two.

Flamingo Families

Flamingos pair up for life. Each year the female will lay a single egg. The chick is born grey and won’t turn pink/orange until they are around three years old.

Flamingo Flocks

Flamingos live in a big group called a stand, colony, regiment or flamboyance. Staying together helps keep them safe from predators.

Getting About

Flamingos are strong swimmers but stay in shallow water so don’t often need to swim. They can also fly and can reach a speed of 35 miles per hour. They regularly fly to find food and good nesting grounds.


Flamingos don’t have many natural predators, because they live in such remote places. The biggest threat to flamingos comes from illegal poachers who take their eggs as food and their feathers for decoration.

Where do Flamingos live?

Flamingos are wading birds and have evolved to live in some of the planet’s most extreme wetland environments. They can be found in Africa, South America, the West Indies, the Middle East and India.

How long do they live for?

Flamingos in the wild live to around 25 years of age. In captivity they live much longer. Some captive flamingos have been recorded as living up to 50 years old or even longer!

Why are they called Flamingos?

Flamingos are called ‘Flamingos’ because of their beautiful bright pink colour! The name comes from the Spanish word “flamenco” which means ‘fire’ and describes their bright feathers well!

The Five Flamingo Books

There are four books in the Five Flamingo book series, The Mud Monster, The Carnivorous Crocodile, The Yum Yum tree and The Fussy Flamingo.

They are written by author Jonnie Wild and illustrated by Brita Granström. Author Jonnie Wild was inspired to write the books because of his passion for conservation and playing with his grandchildren.

All author royalties from the sale of the Five Flamingo books go towards supporting wildlife habitat conservation projects in Africa. Help us support these wildlife conservation projects by buying our books for your children!