Flamingoes, such as the beautiful ones in this jigsaw puzzle, are born with grey plumage, which turn a bright pink color as they mature. The reason for this is their diet. Using their uniquely shaped beaks and long flexible necks, flamingoes in the wild eat a combination of algae and seafood such as prawns and shrimp. The beta-carotene proteins in this diet turn their feathers a vibrant pink color. Sick or unhealthy flamingoes are generally paler, whitish or even brown. Some flamingoes in captivity are also traditionally paler due to the diet they are fed, but many zoos have now started adding prawns or even color additives to the flamingo’s diet.
Jigsaw puzzle subject image credit: Special thanks to DeusXFlorida for making the photograph used for this jigsaw puzzle available through the Creative Commons Attribution license. Visit DeusXFlorida's Flickr photostream.
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