Colourless flamingos

Juvenile flamingos are not a bird enthusiast’s favourite. Unlike the well-fed adults, with their attractive pink colours, the young look dowdy and unremarkable. But, these young lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus minor) presented a pretty picture as they fed in this stagnant stretch of water, green with algae. The algae are exactly what attracted these birds here. The lesser flamingo’s diet is largely made of algae, unicellular plants, and cyanobacteria that fill such stagnant pools. These microscopic organisms are rich in the beta-carotenoids associated with the chlorophyll that they contain. These carotenoids will eventually be deposited in the feathers of the flamingos, and turn them pink, red, or orange. What a marvelous transformation!