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Why do Flamingos eat with their heads upside down?

feeding flamingoesFlamingos have these weird way of eating: with their heads upside down.  They do this to strain the water out of their food.

These pink birds thrive in muddy lakes and lagoons and gets its food from the waters there. They use their boat-shaped beaks to scoop up food in the water and sweeps it back and forth like a vacuum cleaner to catch shrimp and other small water creatures.

The flamingo's lower jaw contains a thick, fleshy tongue that moves back and forth to create powerful suction. Both upper and lower jaws contain rows of projections called lamellae that meet to create a strainer to filter out edibles as water is pumped past them by the tongue.

Contrary to popular belief, flamingos bright pink coloration does not come from the shrimps they consume.  The factors in the flamingo diet that ensure pinkness are carotenoid pigments, which are found in plankton, diatoms, and blue-green algae that the birds strain out of the muck in which they feed.



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