Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Do Flamingos Eat?

Flamingo head and beak up close. When I looked at this picture, I marveled at the similarities between a flamingo's beak and the mouth of a baleen whale. The little teeth on the sides of the flamingo's beak act as filters to catch tiny shrimp and algae similar to how a whale's baleen filters krill. As a flamingo eats, it uses its tongue as a pump to suck food-filled water in through the front of its beak and then force it out through the sides roughly once every three seconds. Fringed plates on the flamingo's tongue trap crustaceans and algae in the process.

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