Flamingos or Flamingoes (About this sound Brazilian pronunciation (help·info)) are a type of wading bird in the genus Phoenicopterus (from Greek: φοινικόπτερος, meaning "purple wing"), the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae. There are four flamingo species in the Americas and two species in the Old World.Six flamingo species are recognized by most sources, and these are generally placed in one genus. Two species, the Andean and the James's Flamingo, are often placed in the genus Phoenicoparrus instead of Phoenicopterus.
Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other tucked beneath the body. The reason for this behavior is not fully understood. Recent research indicates that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water. However, the behaviour also takes place in warm water. As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom.
Young flamingos hatch with greyish reddish plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta-Carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly coloured and thus a more desirable mate; a white or pale flamingo, however, is usually unhealthy or malnourished. Captive flamingos are a notable exception; many turn a pale pink as they are not fed carotene at levels comparable to the wild.