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Pretty in Pink April 25, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Life Balance, Nature.

I learned something new the other day . . . flamingos use “blush” to attract mates.

The birds’ pink coloration flows from the carotenoid-rich crustaceans they consume, but the pigment pales after chicks hatch.

Since birds with the deepest coloring are the first to attract mates, the birds use their beaks to dab carotenoid-rich oil from glands near their tails onto their plumes  and feathers during mating season to make them pinker and more attractive to the opposite sex.

Celebrate the joy of nature . . . the unexpected mysteries of life!

Quote:  Nature does not ask, “what do they want me to be?”  Its glory lies in its authenticity.

Related posts:  National Geographic: Flamingos Apply “Make Up” * Sarasota Jungle Gardens * Teaching Old Birds New Tricks


1. barb19 - April 25, 2011

Wow – I never knew that about flamingoes! Thanks for teaching me something new today!

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

That’s the reaction I had, Barb. It surprised the researchers too once they realized what the birds were doing to affect their coloration.

2. carldagostino - April 25, 2011


nrhatch - April 25, 2011

That’s true for many birds ~ cardinals, peacocks (vs. peahens), roosters.

I think that’s why I found this so fascinating ~ both sexes daub on the oil to heighten their appeal.

3. run4joy59 - April 25, 2011

Isn’t nature amazing?!

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

It awes me! 😀

4. Piglet in Portugal - April 25, 2011

You learn something new everyday thanks to blogging!
Thanks Nancy 🙂

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

The idea of birds using “cosmetics” to enhance their appearance really blew me away. A real eye opener. 😯

5. jeanne - April 25, 2011

Flamingos always remind me of Florida. The first time I remember seeing them was at Busch Gardens when I was a little girl.

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

They always reminded me of Florida too. When I learned that there are huge flocks of flamingos in many other locations around the world, it surprised me.

6. CMSmith - April 25, 2011

Wow. Natural cosmetics. Who knew?

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

Vultures do it too . . . but they use mud to “enhance” their appearance. As if anything could. 😀

7. Rosa - April 25, 2011

Wonderful! I’ve always loved flamingos. Thanks for teaching me something new about them!

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

You’re welcome, Rosa. I enjoyed sharing some FUN facts about Flamingos.

8. suzicate - April 25, 2011

Ha, and I thought humans were the only ones that use make up, perfume, and jewelry to attract others!

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

So did I, Suzi. I wonder if vanity is also a shared characteristic? Probably not. 😉

With other species, attracting mates is less about “being attractive” and more about survival of the species.

9. Tilly Bud - April 25, 2011

i’ve heard this before – you and my husband must watch the same documentaries 🙂

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

Actually, I read about this in Audubon magazine, and did an on-line search to find the National Geographic article. But we watch plenty of documentaries . . . a better quality “reality” TV. 😉

10. kateshrewsday - April 25, 2011

Gracious. Wanton hussies 😀

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

Floozies! Tarts! And, also, Boy Toys! 😀

11. Maggie - April 25, 2011


nrhatch - April 25, 2011

Pink is one of my least favorite colors to wear or decorate with, but I love pink Flamingos and pink Spoonbills. Go figure.

12. souldipper - April 25, 2011

Oh the vanity of the world’s creatures. Imagine it being so innate! And so fascinating.

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

Tigger’s vain. He’s good looking and he knows it! 😉

13. Booksphotographsandartwork - April 25, 2011

Ha the vultures applying mud is a funny thought. They might not be pretty but they sure are interesting. And quite useful birds I might add.

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

Great points, Linda. It is funny thinking of using “mud” as a make-up. But, then again, people pay big money for mud baths and mud masks at spas. 😉

Vultures are incredibly useful at “composting” dead and decaying flesh which would otherwise be lying around.

14. Cindy - April 25, 2011

We live and learn, hey?

nrhatch - April 25, 2011

We do, indeed. 😎

15. therealsharon - April 26, 2011

Very interesting indeed!

nrhatch - April 26, 2011

Now I’m wondering whether our Spoonbills also have a make up case in their trunk.

16. Lyndatjie - April 26, 2011

Look at them stems! Those birds have legs to die for – much better than my treestumps… 😦
I’ve always loved this majestic bird – they are positively the Grande Dames of the bird world… 🙂

nrhatch - April 26, 2011

I expect you would look and feel a bit precarious wobbling around on those stilts.

And can you imagine having such a long and elegant neck? 😀

17. granny1947 - April 26, 2011

Granny shuffles off to see if she has any blush!

nrhatch - April 26, 2011

You go, girl! I never bother with make up these days . . . except a quick brush of blush when the occasion (or my mood) demands it. A bit of color in my cheeks perks me right up.

18. Sandra Bell Kirchman - April 26, 2011

I have three Shih Tzus, two of whom are overweight (mostly my fault) and one of whom is slim and as pretty as a picture. She regulates her own weight, has big liquid eyes, and the perkiest butt and tail you ever saw.

And she knows it. Call her “pretty princess” and she melts. We had to name her collar “her pretty” and it became okay to wear it.

I’m pretty sure the pinkest flamingos know how gorgeous they look 😛

nrhatch - April 26, 2011

Animals are so aware of their effect on us . . . they know who’s the boss! 😉

19. oldancestor - April 26, 2011

I was at the Grounds for Sculpture in NJ the other day (you’ve been there, Hatch?), which is one of NJ’s great hidden treasures, and the peacocks were in full mating mode. Three males, one not 5 feet away, were putting on a dance and fanning out their feathers while a clutch of females strolled over to inspect the goods. I wish I’d had my camera with me.

nrhatch - April 26, 2011

I haven’t been there, but I just checked it out on line ~ WOW! Did you eat at Rat’s Restaurant? (What an unappetizing name!)

I would gravitate to the Peacock Cafe for a picnic lunch to eat on the grounds.

Last year, as we walked to the 4th of July fireworks on Longboat Key, we heard a bird calling from up in a tree. Looked up and saw a peacock! There’s a flock of them on the island that the islanders care for. Pretty cool.

Like you . . . no camera. 😀

oldancestor - April 30, 2011

I might do a post on the place for PFC. I’ll try to get a peacock pic when I’m there.

I have the good fortune of being friendly with a woman who makes big bucks and loves renting Rats out for private parties. Believe me, you quickly forget the name. I don’t know of a restaurant with a better atmosphere.

nrhatch - April 30, 2011

The photos of Rats looked wonderful ~ lovely ambiance for a soiree . . . especially when someone else is picking up the tab. 😉

20. eof737 - April 27, 2011

Magical! See even nature can teach us a thing or two about the color of love…. 🙂

nrhatch - April 27, 2011

The majesty, miracles, and mysteries of nature never cease to amaze and amuse. 😉

21. Greg Camp - April 28, 2011

This is also a reminder of how connected to the animal kingdom we human animals are. I’m always fascinated by seeing a behavior that’s common across many species.

nrhatch - April 28, 2011

Me too. Especially when animals demonstrate LOVE and other “human” emotions to their caretakers. It boggles the mind that anyone could conclude that animals don’t “feel.”

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