Flamingos have the largest and heaviest tongues among birds as the feeding techniques of baleen whales (rorquals) and flamingos are very similar: both are able to filter large amounts of very small food in very large quantities with the help of specialized filters, the baleen plates in the case of rorquals, and, in the case of flamingos, the lamellae, small plates in their mandibles.
Courtship rituals among flamingos form one of nature’s most impressive shows. Adult males and females aggregate in close groups and start an intricate dance with necks cocked up while flashing their primaries (the long flying feathers at the wing tips). These are exceptionally pink and black as they are less exposed to abrasion, wear and tear and other factors that may weaken the colour intensity.
Among the largest birds in the archipelago, American flamingos can stand up to 145 centimetres (57 inches) tall. The most recent bird-count registered 314 individuals of this species in the archipelago. Our guests can see American flamingos in all itineraries with few exceptions related to vessels exploring the Eastern Islands of the Galapagos.
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