The Greater Flamingo is a large, very slender, pale pink or white bird with long legs and a long neck. The wing coverts are bright salmon pink but are often hidden beneath the feathers on the back when the bird is feeding. In flight however, they are clearly visible and contrast with the black flight feathers of the wings. The bill is deep and turned sharply downwards after about two thirds of its length. It is pink with a broad black tip (the Lesser Flamingo has a dark reddish-black bill). The eyes are yellow, and there is pink skin between the eyes and the bill. The legs are red.
Greater Flamingos are are highly nomadic birds and their presence usually depends on suitable water conditions. Usually seen in large flocks, wading slowing through shallow water and sometimes seen swimming in deeper water. They have a very specialized feeding process.
Greater Flamingos spend most of the day standing in shallow water with their head down filtering the water through the sieve-like lamellae of their beaks. Their thick fleshy tongues acts as a plunger to suck the water and food into the mouth, and then forcing just the water back out. The nearly dry bolus of food is drawn into the back of the mouth to be swallowed at the same time the next mouthful of water is drawn in.
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