American Flamingo

Phoenicopterus ruber

The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large species of flamingo closely related to the Greater Flamingo and Chilean Flamingo. It was formerly considered conspecific with the Greater Flamingo, but that treatment is now widely viewed (e.g. by the American and British Ornithologists' Unions) as incorrect due to a lack of evidence. It has also been known as the Caribbean Flamingo, but the species' presence in the Galápagos makes that name problematic. It is the only flamingo which naturally inhabits North America.

The American Flamingo breeds in the Galápagos, coastal Colombia, Venezuela and nearby islands, besides the Guyanas and Cape Orange in Brazil. It also breeds in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, and in the northern Caribbean in the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Cuba and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Most sightings in southern Florida are usually considered to be escapees, although at least one bird banded as a chick in the Yucatán Peninsula has been sighted in Everglades National Park, and others may be wanderers from Cuba. From a distance, untrained eyes can also confuse the Roseate Spoonbill with it.

Its preferred habitats are similar to that of its relatives: saline lagoons, mudflats, and shallow brackish coastal or inland lakes. An example specific habitat is in the Petenes mangroves ecoregion of the Yucatán.

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